Comparing ICUs


I'm a nursing student graduating in Nov w/ my bachelor's... Finally! Yay!!

We're in our high acuity clinical right now, which I love.:redpinkhe It's where I wanna be post-grad.

I'm about to shadow a nurse in 3 of the hospitals in my area, in hopes that it helps me choose where I want to work. One of the hospitals is a level 1 and would probably be considered "the best" by most in my area. Another is a level 2 in more of an urban area w/ higher crime rates. The third hospital is a small one (either a level 2 or 3?) w/ high crime in the area. The small hospital is where I'm at now for clinical, and I like it.

I'm just asking for any tips or advice for when I shadow. Any questions you wished you had answered before chosing a place to work? Can you think of anything I could keep an eye out for as I'm visiting each hospital?:rolleyes:

I've thought of a few of these things myself such as the staffing and nurse-patient ratios. But I'd greatly appreciate anyone else's :twocents:



Specializes in ICU, ED, Transport, Home Care, Mgmnt. Has 28 years experience. 243 Posts

Ask about floating and if you will be expected to float to other ICU units and what about med/surg floors or specialty floors? Will you get orientation to those units before you float? How does the hospital handle staffing issues, if census is down what happens to the extra staff. If not enough staff for the next shift and no one wants to work, what happens? Do they have mandatory overtime? What kind of security do they have in the high crime areas especially. Is someone nearby at shift change when you are walking to and from your car? Is the lot secured and well lit? What is the units turnover rate for nurses? What is the average length of stay for new nurses. Hope that helps. Good luck.



Specializes in CVICU. Has 1 years experience. 575 Posts

Ask about the orientation program at each. Find out about the number of new grads they took in the past and how they did. Find out if the preceptors have precepted and taken new grads. The first step to starting out in the ICU as a new grad is to understand how they will train you.

The second thing is to be prepared to study, study, study. I spend about the same amount of time studying now as I did in school.

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