Best unit to start my residency; ICU or Med/Surg


I'm struggling to make my decision for where to start my residency. I applied, and the next day I received an email for a phone interview as well as the two options for start dates and the associated specialty areas. I'm trying to pick the one that will give the best option for moving to other units (OR, PACU, GI, or OB) if I felt that particular unit was not for me, but I would still love to work in. I managed to narrow it down to ICU (July 31) or Med/Tele (Sept 11). My interview is on June 8th, and I need to make a decision by then.

Do you have any input as to a good place to start my residency?


3 Posts

A few things I would consider:

- What type of orientation will you have for the different units?

- What kind of patient population do you think you'd work best in? ICU you will have a lower amount of patients since they're critical as opposed to a med-surg/tele your patient load could be 4-6 at a time. Not saying one is more superior, but where do you best see yourself?

I'm also a new nurse (starting in the ICU this summer). What helped me to decide was that I can complete a nurse residency program to help me transition into the role, and because I know I work best with 1-2 critical patients. I had an internship, clinical rotation, and practicum all in the ICU setting so it's how my time management skills are already set up. But think about what you can best see yourself in! I absolutely LOVED labor & delivery and NICU but knew it was not something I should go into right out of college. I think something general like an ICU or med-surg (even ED) would be good experience, but it's also all in the orientation you receive that best helps you with the transition.

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,837 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 12 years experience.

If you don't have actual job offers it is premature to "narrow down" anything. I would be wary of a place that is offering you a start date without having ever interviewed you. That is highly unusual and makes little to no sense. Imagine who your coworkers could turn out to be!

Go talk to them. Visit all the potential areas. Get a feel for the culture on each unit as well as for the entity as a whole. See who actually offers you a job. THEN decide, if you get more than one offer, which you would prefer.


127 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVICU. Has 3 years experience.

New grads should start in Med/Surg. I know many new nurses who have succeeded in ICUs as new grads, but I also have seen many flounder and crash. ICU patients are the sickest of the sick. You need to have a strong foundation to be able to notice changes and react quickly. But in the end, it's really your call.