Question for PICU RNs out there.

  1. Hi there you guys.
    As some of you already know, I'm an OR nurse who graduated in May. I'm researching my options in critical care areas to enter into because of requirements for CRNA school. (Which is hopefully in my future....maybe 3-4 years into my future, to be realistic.)

    I'd like to know, based on your experience, how long it takes to train an RN with no previous Peds experience?? (Other than clinicals in school) Is it the same length as a new grad, or less?? Are liscensed RNs with no prior Peds experience even considered for these positions? If I were to go for this, it would probly be at Children's Mercy Hospital here in Kansas City....which is also where I had my Peds clinical. I think it would be the best place for learning, considering it's also a teaching hospital.

    Anyone have advice??? Any would be greatly appreciated. Pros, Cons, or Otherwise.

    Anne
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Jolie
    Talk to some Mercy nurses before taking a job there. I worked in their NICU, and it was hell on earth. To their credit, I learned more in 1 year there than in 5 years in another facility, but I only lasted a year because the working conditions were so terrible! Short staffing, many hours of on-call, constant shift rotation, and patient assignments that were not reasonable. It was not uncommon to work 12 hours without a lunch or dinner, and you had to beg someone to watch your patients so that you could use the bathroom. And that was all before there was a nursing shortage! Our patients received good care, but it was only because the nurses were so dedicated that they put the babies' needs before their own. We had some very talented physicians and nurses. Unfortunately, the leadership left a lot to be desired.

    Unit management varied a lot, and some of the other units were much better run. Check them out very carefully. And good luck to you!
  4. by   KC CHICK
    Thanks for your reply Jolie. I appreciate your honesty and do plan on speaking with others before any moves are made. One of the gals I graduated with was a tech in the PICU at Mercy for 6 years before she became an RN. She loved it so much she stayed on the unit. I just haven't talked w/her yet to get all the details. I won't be able to make a move at least until I get married in May....so I can get on my hubbies' insurance before leaving my current hospital. (if that's what I decide to do.)

    I still need to know if a licensed RN with no previous experience can start off in Peds in the PICU. Anyone here know??

    Anne
    Last edit by KC CHICK on Dec 7, '01
  5. by   peaceful2100
    Anne, I work at children's mercy I am still a care assistant will become a RN once I graduate but they do hire new grads in the NICU and PICU BUT more often they will put you on night shift. I worked with a girl in cardiology over the past summer who was in the NICU and she loved it but she wanted to switch to clinic because her and her husband was getting ready to start a family and she wanted to do 8 hours and still be around kids so she switched to a clinic at Mercy. I also know some who graduated from my school last year and they got right on as well as another girl who got on who did not graduate from my school. I think It all depends on when you apply.

    I noticed that you said you mentioned you won't be able to make your move to May probably. Well, a suggestion apply early because may and june are hot hiring months at Mercy with all the new grads. Last April/May/early june they hired 70 new grads in those 3 months alone. However, given that you have some RN experience it might not matter. Talk to your friend I am sure she will know much more that what I do.
  6. by   krisfroggie
    I work in a teaching hospital in a PICU. Our Nurse Mgr. allows those seeking employment an "experience day" in which the nurse seeking employment follows a nurse for a day or even only a few hours. No pay of course, no responsibility either. No actual care done, just to get their feet wet. As for GN's in the PICU, this is not a yes or no question. You must consider the ability of the hospital to adaquately orient. At our Hospital, the average GN will orient for at least three MONTHS while recieving 10 eight hour critical care courses. This is very organised and the orientee is of course paid. Expensive, but well trained unit with less turnover. I like it!! Good luck, I love to work in PICU. Kris
  7. by   scarbors
    Part of my job is to arrange orientations, so I have seen this situation before. A nurse that has been out of school for at least a year usually doesn't need as much orientation as a new grad. They have spent the last year learning time management, etc. However, it is so different in the OR. I've had great OR nurses with years of experience completely flail in the ICU. It's a different world. However, if you want to become a CRNA, you'll have to do a unit. I love PICU, but it is harder than a general ICU. (Sorry to all you ICU RNs out there!!!) You have to be so very, very careful and the fear factor is much higher when you are dealing with a small child. So, for those reasons, I suggest you attempt general ICU for a year or so. You'll develop core concepts of ICU and time management skills. Then, if you want to transfer to PICU until you get into school, you would be in great shape. Good luck!
  8. by   PhantomRN
    I would agree with scarbors. We have had new grads come into our unit as well as a few experienced OR nurses. BY far the new grads did much better.

    No offense, but the experiecnced OR nurses had difficultly doing pt care, as they did not do that in the OR. And believe me the unit is ALL about patient care.
  9. by   KC CHICK
    I wouldn't think the seasoned OR nurses would be able to transition as easily as a new grad either. I, on the other hand, have only been out of school since last May. I'm also a very fast learner.

    I'm considering other options as well. ICU happens to be one of them, as well as the PACU. Both are acceptable areas for CRNA school. I contacted the school and they prefer adult ICU experience anyway.

    Anne
    Last edit by KC CHICK on Jan 4, '02
  10. by   RNNelson
    KC Chick....

    I graduated in 1994 and went straight into PICU at Via-
    Christi St. Francis down in Wichita.....to be honest with you....it was the most scary decision and the most rewarding of my career to date! Being relatively new, you will learn SO much...you'll be amazed. Mercy is great if you're ready for high intensity in the PICU....if you don't feel ready for that, I'd suggest checking out the PICU at KU. It's a smaller unit, they still get traumas and such and there are still tons of residents and intensivists to learn from! If you're just looking for the ICU experience for CRNA school, I'd get into an adult S/MICU--you'll get more out of your ICU experience for later. BUT....if you love kids, stress, and a challenge....try the PICU....you'll never regret it! I wish I'd never left and tried the "adult thing"....kids are WAY more fun!
  11. by   Trinityrise
    Hi KC Chick,


    I worked in a large innercity PICU for 16 years before moving to Canada. While we generally prefered nurses with at least 1 year of pediatric experience ( it used to be a requsite before the nursing shortage ) we did hire those with no peds experience. What we looked for more than anything else was a willingness to learn. All ICU's will have an extensive core course for you to learn the technical aspects of your job. And being an OR nurse already, you have experience in an acute care setting. I don't believe you will have any trouble with the transition to an ICU as long as you show a true willingness to learn and are prepared for the real life experiences of a PICU. In my opinion, our best orientees were those with good skills, an eagerness to learn new things, and fear in their eyes. You have just enough nursing experience to make you a valuable asset to a PICU staff.

    I suggest you get your hands on a copy of " Nursing Care of the Critically Ill Child" by Mary Fran Hazinski
    Mosby, published 12/1998

    Our Unit went through 2 copies of this book a year.. it was used so much that the cover would literally fall off and the pages would fall out It is an EXCELLENT resource and may help you begin your learning.

    Well, good luck in your job search, I hope that you enjoy your PICU experience as much as I did mine.

    ~Pamela
  12. by   biscuit_007
    Hi KC
    I work in a PICU and I love it. But,,,you need to be prepared for the worst part of the job, is that children die very often in these units.
    I train nurses regularly, and about 70% of them dont realize how often we deal with death. They really are not prepared for this.
    Dont get me wrong, I really love my job, and would never switch to any other type of unit.
    Hope this helps
  13. by   Ex130Load
    I too am looking into CRNA for the future. Many of the schools I've looked at require adult ICU experience. How about the one with whom you mentioned talking?
  14. by   DIVER CRNA
    hello KC chick,

    I have recently received my RN and have taken a job in the PICU ( due to start in 2 weeks). I also am fullfilling my critical care requirement for CRNA school and cosciously chose the PICU due to the challenging environment. Couple critical care skils while simultaneously serving the psychosocial needs of children and their PARENTS. I was offered a job in the ICU, but the orientation was not as thorough and the staffing issues could have been a problem for me. All programs I have talked to openly accept PICU experience, although as you said they may have a preferrance for adult ICU. In addition you may see a broader range of disease systems in the adult ICU. I believe that not matter what you choose, most CRNA schools will be quite accepting.
    GOOD LUCK!

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