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Best Experience to get into an ICU

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by John SPN John SPN (Member) Member

2,674 Profile Views; 47 Posts

I currently have a job offer for both a Surgical-Trauma PCU and the Emergency Department at my local hospital. I am not sure which unit an ICU Nurse Manager would view as "better" experience to have to get into an ICU.

Please advise!

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

5 Followers; 4 Articles; 20,896 Posts; 147,100 Profile Views

what does SPN stand for? I would think the surgical/trauma PCU if it has telemetry wold be the better bet for ICU. Why the focus on ICU?

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47 Posts; 2,674 Profile Views

SPN was the account I created when I was a Student Practical Nurse... since then I have earned my RN. My focus is on ICU with the intent to continue on to Anesthesia school. I worked as an LPN in Anesthesia for a year and loved every minute of it.

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3 Posts; 560 Profile Views

Hey how about the obvious, Why don't you go ask the ICU manager?????

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47 Posts; 2,674 Profile Views

Speaking of obvious, if your intent was to not be even remotely helpful, why even waste time posting a reply?

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8 Posts; 816 Profile Views

I went into ER and then transferred to ICU. A lot of hospitals consider ER to be part of critical care. Also, do some research on which anesthesia schools you think you may apply to. Some of them also accept ER as critical care experience if it's a large ER at a level 1 trauma center.

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ktliz specializes in critical care.

379 Posts; 11,070 Profile Views

In my organization, progressive nurses go through 90% of the training critical care nurses go through. Although the ED is also considered "critical care," it is a whole 'nother animal. The focus and flow are totally different. Although you may get more experience with acutely decompensating patients in the ED, that is maybe only 10% of what you will see in the ICU. The rest of your time in the ICU is focused on routine.

Now, as far as what will get you hired in the ICU... if you are a good candidate, I think either will get your foot in the door. Go for the position that you are drawn to. There is tons to learn in either position. The one where you will learn the most is the one where you are completely engaged and loving your job!

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Filly specializes in ICU.

5 Posts; 598 Profile Views

If didn't work ICU, my "next best" choice would definitely be ER. I love ER and pick up overtime shifts there a few times a month. You still get the challenge of a super sick case or code, with more turnover. That is, unless you're assigned the pelvic exam rooms and get all the std checks and vag bleeds for the whole shift. ;)

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Sugarcoma has 2 years experience as a RN and specializes in Trauma/Tele/Surgery/SICU.

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That is, unless you're assigned the pelvic exam rooms and get all the std checks and vag bleeds for the whole shift. ;)

Never worked ER here, had no idea. I used to say to myself when having a miserable shift "at least I am not picking trash off the side of the road." That is until I realized that would probably be more enjoyable. This is what I will tell myself from now on. Egads.

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Sugarcoma has 2 years experience as a RN and specializes in Trauma/Tele/Surgery/SICU.

410 Posts; 11,532 Profile Views

I currently have a job offer for both a Surgical-Trauma PCU and the Emergency Department at my local hospital. I am not sure which unit an ICU Nurse Manager would view as "better" experience to have to get into an ICU.

Please advise!

John, in my opinion I would think ER would definitely give you more experience in handling critical situations. That being said the PCU unit (I assume progressive care is the same as step down?) depending on the acuity would also be a good choice. I would ask around to find out how acute. Do they take vents? Any type of drips? etc.

It is very hard to say what a hiring manager prefers. I know that on my current unit my manager prefers no ER. She likes high acuity med surg experience the best. At my previous hospital there were a couple of units that were known as stepping stones for the ICU. Then there were others where if that was your only experience you wouldn't even be considered. I would not let my aspirations be known to my manager but perhaps you could talk to the nurse educator at this hospital and tell them that eventually you would like to make your way to the ICU and ask their opinion of which unit would give you a better chance?

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114 Posts; 3,171 Profile Views

Many CRNA programs make it very clear that ED experience is not acceptable for critical care experience. Most of those I've researched state that in their FAQs sections.

If you are compelled to do ED, make sure the CRNA program of your choice finds it acceptable. Unfortunately, many do not. Best of luck to you!!:up:

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