How soon is TOO SOON to transfer to ICU?

  1. I am currently working on a surgical unit but really want to work in critical care. I graduated in may and actually got an ICU job right away in my hometown at a great facility, worked there for four months, then had to move out of state because of my husband's job transfer. In the state I live now, I was unable to find an ICU position so I had to take a Med-Surg job. My facility will allow me to transfer to another department after 6 months of employment. My question is should I wait the 6 months and transfer right away? I am concerned that my supervisor would be upset and think that I only took the job to get my foot in the door (which is basically what I did). My other option would be to apply to a different company altogether next may when I will have my year of RN experience that all the hospitals here are looking for you to have in order to get in the ICU. I really have no interest in doing med/surg and am very miserable. I feel like I am buying my time, but at the same time I am greatful to have a job at all and I don't want to rock the boat and get myself in trouble with my current position because I'll be trying to transfer so soon. This is all just very dissappointing. I went into nursing thinking that I could chose my path, but there seems to be so many loop holes to jump through. I feel like I have no control over my future anymore. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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    About LeLeeFNP

    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 231; Likes: 57
    Nurse Practitioner; from US
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in ICU, CVICU, Surgical, LTAC


  3. by   ruralgirl08
    Hi, I felt like I needed to reply to your post, because I am in a similar situation. I trained in, and turned down my dream ICU job over a year ago, because I was getting married and I moved an hour away, right after I graduated. Silly me for not commuting. I did a year of temp positions in med-surg., and am now 6 mos. into neuro. I remember how much I loved ICU, like I was made for it.
    Anyway, I understand your troubles of trying to get into an ICU as a new nurse. It's tough. Most places will not consider a new nurse for ICU. Due to: the cost of the extended orientation to train in critical care, plus being a new nurse: you still need to work on mastering the basics of nursing care. Saying that, your floor experience is a big asset.
    I think you should apply to ICU, when you are able to. Regardless if you get the job or not, your ICU manager will know that you are interested in a job, and you have some experience under your belt.
    I was straight forward about my future goal of becoming a critical care nurse. I think it is good to have a 5 yr plan, don't try to hide it. Alot of nurses eventually leave med-surg for other areas.
    In my current job, I have to wait a year before I can transfer. By then I will have 2 yrs nursing under my belt, with critical care cetification courses, and then who knows how long it may be before I actually get hired in the ICU. Anyway, even though I was miserable working med-surg in the beginning, I have learned to look at this "setback" as a true blessing. I have been told that if you can master the basics, you will be a better ICU nurse for it. If you end up being on the floor for awhile, find something about the floor that challenges you. For me, it was getting my floor time-organization down well, as it is different from ICU. My tactfulness and confidence level in communicating with and/or advocating for pt/families/the team is better, I have learned to set appropriate boundaries with difficult people. I am also less frustrated when the floor is chaos, and I can't control everything.
    I am beginning to become one of those nurses who is remembered by pt/families, who gets the occasional thank you cards/coffees brought in/ect. when patients come back months later to visit. <--that means something to me. All of these skills are valuable to ICU. You will need them all, but amplified X 10. Anyway, if my advice is not helpful, at least take from it that you are not alone. I believe things may happen for a reason, and you will one day see it clearer. Then one day, in the will become that damn good ICU nurse Good luck!
  4. by   lraelyn
    Very good information!! I am a VERY similar situation:
    Graduated in June, hired in as new grad to ICU. I have done 6 weeks on Med/Surg floor and soon will go over to ICU. I hear it from EVERYONE "you really need to get your feet wet". But, if ICU is where I want to be, why not get my feet wet over there? If I have a good preceptor, how else does one learn? OR...should I be honest with myself and find a position less critical? I just feel like if I have a good preceptor that will be patient with me I can get some great experience and be able to become a great ICU nurse....