Anyone ever return to ICU after a long break?

Specialties MICU


I've been out of the ICU for 3 years. Out of the hospital as much. I've done homecare/hospice for a year and for the past 6 months I've been working a dream non bedside job working remotely from home.

i kind of miss the ICU and recently began renting a new house which is much more money than my previous apartment. I figured picking up some per diem work would help.

but I'm worried about a few things. That I won't be hired because I was out for so long for one. Another is will I feel completely brand new again? Another is I had a lot of anxiety at the bedside. It's been great not having that " did I make a mistake?" Feeling.

but I love the ICU. Still a passion.

anyways, has anyone successfully gone back after being out for a few years?

I am in the same situation and also need advice. I worked ICU for a year and absolutely loved it however I had to leave do to my daughter's school schedule. I now work in outpatient as a Case Manager and I really don't like it all. I have been in outpatient now for 2 years and I feel like all my clinical skills are fading away. I really miss the ICU so much but I really don't know if I someone would take a chance on me. I still review all my note from my ECHO class (critical care class)to stay informed. Please help???


1 Post

I was in a similar situation. I left the ICU to work in an outpatient setting for a year and a half. I really missed critical care, and wanted to return to the ICU. I initially tried to do per diem ICU nursing at anew hospital and I'll admit, it felt overwhelming and I didn't stay. I then returned to my prior unit and spoke to the nurse managers. Having known me as a hard worker they were happy to have me back, and even offered me a couple of weeks of re-orientation. I definitely felt a bit rusty at first, but having the comfort of being in a unit I was familiar with and with equiptment and policies and procedures I knew, it all came back very quickly. I've been back six months and love it.


1,131 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

Now that I got laid off from my full-time job, this is something I really need to consider doing. I would feel most comfortable in my ICU. The biggest change since I left is the EMR (we were all paper)

I'm scared, but I need an income, and maybe, just maybe, this was a sign ( I really did love my job I got laid off from, I'm pretty sad)

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

It's like riding a'll remember. Some of the procedures (like hypothermia post resuscitation) might be changed...some new equipment. ACLS is going to have different protocols depending on when you last took it...but at the end of the's still the same.

A computer is a computer. even if actively working and you change jobs the system changes you will learn.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education,Midwifery,Psych.

Oh, it's an amazing feeling to be back at the bedside. I was not working clinically in ICU for 3 years,however, I am a Nurse Educator, so I maintained all my competencies and the theory is "fully loaded". That being said, I was so nervous! On my first shift back and caring for my patient, I felt like I had never left. I worked like I always did, with passion and it's very much still there. I am employed in a casual capacity whilst teaching and working in Occupational Health. My advice is to keep asking a lot of questions. Even the most experienced ICU nurse would. I invested in buying the latest Critical Care Text so that I have the latest theory at hand. I left my shift that day exhausted, but oh, so satisfied. It is the best feeling in the world, don't be scared, go for it.:yes:

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