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Cardiac icu interview tips for an acute care nurse?

CCU   (253 Views 2 Comments)
by stacylethani stacylethani (Member)

2,748 Visitors; 52 Posts


I’ve been a nurse for almost two years now on a cardiac surgical floor. I’m interviewing for the pediatric cardio thoracic icu and the peds icu/cardiac icu (the units are combined) next week at two different hospitals due to needing to relocate. 

I have no icu experience, however, I have worked a lot with lvads and cardiac drips (milrinone specifically). I know both icus specially deal with ECMO, CRRT, and VADs.

Does anyone have any advice for interviewing for the icu/what to expect? One of the interviews is just an interview with the manager. The other interview is a manager interview, a peer interview, a floor shadow, and a medication (math I assume?) test. 


Should I prepare for nursing types of questions surrounding drips, vents, etc? (Anyone have any good material for this since I know next to nothing about that icu specific stuff?) 

I’ve gathered good stories for all the typical nursing questions (mistake you made, why critical care, time you advocated for your patient, most complex patient you’ve had, pushback from team, how to handle patient complaint, where in 5 years, what do you bring to the team, abrupt change in patient care, how do others describe you, etc). I’m just unsure about icu specific questions being asked, especially since I have zero icu experience! 


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sarolarn is a BSN, RN and specializes in Telemetry.

6,542 Visitors; 300 Posts

You can't and don't want to fake experience that you don't have, but you should be genuine in your desire to learn. It's okay to not be familiar with ICU care because you've never done it. They can gather that from your resume. If they ask any ICU care specific questions which I doubt that they will, I would probably respond with a question about it- be engaged, be interested, show that you're passionate about learning, professional development, and ensuring that you are prepared to administer excellent care on their unit. Ask about the patient population, why they're on the unit, what kind of equipment are they on, what kind of drips they're on, what you as a nurse are responsible for in regards to patient monitoring (monitor techs etc). You've got this!

You can always try to find some research or data on the kind of care being rendered on the unit you're going to, and if you know someone on the unit you can always ask. It's not usually easy to find unit specific data online, and I don't think that they'll really be looking for it if they know that you're transferring from acute care to critical. 

Edited by sarolarn

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