PICU or CVICU?

  1. 0
    I'm a new nursing graduate, and I'm in the process of interviewing for a PICU position and a peds CVICU position. Initially, I was PICU all the way, but after interviewing in the CVICU, I'm also very drawn to this unit as well. I'm torn. Has anyone out there been in a similar situation? Any light to shed on the pros/cons of working in each unit? I'd like to eventually go back to school to become an NP or a CNS, and I'm worried about being pigeonholed if I work in a CVICU. Are all of the patients similar in the CVICU? Which unit is more challenging?

    Thank you so much for any advice/insight!!
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  4. 0
    you'll be just as pidgeon-holed in picu as you will in cvicu. i guess the big question is do you want to be pidgeonholed into adults or pediatrics?
  5. 0
    Yeah, that's a good point. The CVICU is in the Children's hospital, so it's also a pediatric population. I do want to be in peds and wouldn't mind being pigeonholed there. I'm looking for a very challenging [pediatric] position working with critical care patients...
  6. 0
    They're both challenging but in very different ways. You'll see surgical patients in both environments. You'll see very sick patients in both environments. In the CICU you'll be dealing with one major organ of the body and how it impacts the rest of the body. You'll see patients with multisystem organ failure, many many vasoactive drips, open chests, transplants, sepsis, dialysis, Norwoods, etc...possibly even ECMO depending on your hospital.

    In the PICU you'll see everything else and the way it impacts the heart....which means many vasoactive drips, trauma, surgery, sepsis, multisystem organ failure, solid organ and bone marrow transplants, DKA, neuro, etc...

    You have to decide how much you really like the heart. Either way it impacts the rest of the body. Is it important for you to see other kinds of transplants, other types of illnesses, trauma, etc, or are you madly in love with cardio? Some say cardio is more of a challenge because the heart is so complex, but any kind of ICU nursing is going to be intense. I know that at some hospitals, if you work in the CICU you can float to the other ICUs. Only you can decide what is right for you.
  7. 0
    Great response RN4WeeOnes! You took the words right out of my fingers. I work in a primarily CVICU but 1/3 of our patients are mixed PICU. The administration is talking about splitting the unit into 2 separate units and if I'm required to choose, I'm going with the med-surg side!

    And while I'm talking about moving, let's move this thread to the PICU forum.
  8. 0
    I just recently had this same exact dilemma. I applied and was hired into both the Pediatric CICU and the PICU. I was COMPLETELY torn and didn't know which path to take. Prior to transferring I was working in the NICU and was just ready to learn more and see more. I decided to take the PICU job and I honestly don't have any regrets. Every time I go to work I learn something new and I get to see such a variety of diagnoses anything from gun shots, car accidents, head injuries to sepsis and DIC. I have spoke to other nurses in the CICU and they feel that their practice is very limited because their practice is so specialized. I am learning so much and love the decision I made. Good Luck to you!!


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