SN first day in the PICU

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    Well, I'm a junior in a BSN program. I suffered through my med/surg clinicals, and except for some great moments talking to the patients, I hated every minute of it. I also realized I didn't enjoy taking care of the elderly. It just really was not for me. I will admit that the fact that I had a hardcore clinical instructor, who was very intimidating, might have contributed to my not enjoying that rotation. I could not relax around her. It was also 12 hours on Saturdays for 7 weeks, which really sucked. So, I leave my med/surg course really discouraged about nursing and wondering if it was for me. I enjoyed my psych clinicals but it was not something that just jumped out and grabbed me.

    Fast forward now to my peds specialty class. I love kids, but I didn't know how I would feel about working with sick kids and ones that are dying. I also suspected that critical care and the OR would be where I would enjoy practicing as a nurse. My first clinical day was in the PICU of the nation's 7th largest children's hospital. I had such a blast, and enjoyed every minute of my time there. It really clicked, and I felt like I belonged there. I did not want to leave at the end of the day. I ended up with a wonderful nurse that let me assist as much as I was allowed and explained everything to me. I was fascinated with all that is involved in taking care of a critical patient. It also felt rewarding knowing I was helping these kids. Like I said before, I just felt like I belonged there. And I still can't stop thiking about it. I am wondering if any of you had this kind of experience. Like someone else said, it's something you feel called to. I haven't felt this with any of my clinicals. Please share any of your thoughts or feelings and also any advice on how to get a new grad job in the PICU. I'm also going to get to go to the NICU so I'm looking forward to that as well. I'm a guy by the way, and out of the 30 or so nurses on the floor, I only saw one male nurse...how do male nurses fit in in the PICU culture?

    One more thought...I still might want to pursue nurse anesthesia one day. In fact the children's hospital employees these...but it seems like most of the nurse anesthesia programs want adult ICU experience? Can anyone who's been down this road comment?
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    I had the SAME exact experience as you. I despised every second of my adult rotations and honestly thought I entered the wrong profession. Then I was offered a job as a Nurse Apprentice on the pediatric ward and when I began caring for children, I knew I found my niche. Although I loved caring for the pediatric patients, I still had some hesitations because most of the kids I cared for had RSV, appendicitis, oncology/hematology issues... and frankly, it bored me. When I did my PICU rotation, I KNEW that was what I was going to do.

    Thankfully I was offered a job in the PICU right after I graduated nursing school. I enjoy it for the most part -- the worst part of my job is working with unrelenting physicians and nurses.

    I know of a few CRNA's who predominantly had PICU experience. If you work in a trauma center or otherwise large or referral PICU facility, you should have enough experience with intubations, medication titrations, etc. that are required by CRNA schools.
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    I can too share your sense of being "called" to a nurse in a PICU. I felt the same way during my clinicals as an undergrad as well. Peds is what led me to becoming a nurse in the first place, but never thought about the PICU until our critical care and peds clinical rotations. I was a pharmacy tech at the hospital I worked at, and every time I delivered meds to the PICU I could not help but get a feeling of belonging to this unit. I was offered a job there after graduation and never have left. Hopefully after NP school, I can stay there as a practitioner or be close to it as I possibly can. As far as experience needed for CRNA programs, you should get the experience needed from working at one of the nation's top children's hospital. After all, there are CRNAs who specialize in children. Good luck.


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