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A few good ICUs?

Hi Everyone-

I am currently planning on starting the adventure of travel nursing in June. I have been working in a Surgical and Trauma ICU in a large level 1 teaching hospital for the past year and a half and would really appreciate some info on some great ICUs to visit or some of the less great ones to avoid. Any information you could give would be very appreciated!! Thank you!


Has 4 years experience.

The best thing to do is interview the hospital when they interview you. I like to ask "why are there travel positions open in the first place?" Is it because it's a terrible place to work at? Or is it because it is a large hospital in a rural area and not enough nurses live around the hospital to staff it? My favorite is EMR conversions. Lots of travelers are brought in to a facility that already has good staff, they just temporarily need all hands on deck.

My favorite hospital to work at so far was a CCU in Winston-Salem, NC. But they only needed me for an EMR conversion so they haven't had any needs after my assignment ended.

I worked at Dartmouth's Hospital in NH, called DHMC. They hired me as a critical care nurse because I could do ICU, step-down, and med/surg nursing. I had never done med/surg in my life until I went to DHMC!! They kept thier own staff for true ICU patients and floated me mostly to step-down and frequently to med/surg. I only had 2-3 true ICU assignments my entire 3 month assignment. It was horrible. The moral of the story is this: make sure you ask how often you are likely to be floated to non-ICU floors. Many hospitals hire critical care nurses for this exact reason: they can cover 3 different patient populations.

Currently I'm in a cardio vascular ICU in Fayetteville, NC. It's ok. No techs so that makes the workload harder. I don't mean because someone isnt there to do my work. I mean that when I need to turn my patient every 2 hours or boost or change linens, there is no one available to help me boost or turn. So I would recommend adding that to your repitoir of questions to ask when you interview.

The area you travel is also important to take into consideration. Stereotypes are somewhat true as I've had mostly friendly encounters in the south, mostly snobbish encounters in the New England area. And of course, each floor even within a hospital has it's own unique culture. My recruiter highly recommended DHMC to me because of what another of her nurses had told her (she was a med/surg nurse) and I absolutley hated it there.

Good luck!


Has 6 years experience.

Danbury CT has a great ICU, 20 beds, newly renovated with all the bells and whistles. They do CABG, IABP's etc, lvl 2 trauma center. You will float to their SDU though, which isn't horrible.

Dalton, GA (Hamilton Medical Center) has a small 8 bed MICU and 8 bed SICU, tiny place, old units, pt's are nursing home quality, very boring.

Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, GA. They have 34 CV beds (CABG, LVAD's, ECMO, Heart Transplant, PA Catheters, IABP, CRRT, etc) 20 CCU beds, 30 MICU beds. This place is an awesome place to learn. Very busy and challenging. They have tons of travelers to staff their ICU float pool where you will travel between all their ICU's. They will attempt to float you to ED or Med Surg with up to 4 patients though.

There is a few ICU's you can look into.


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