Quote from Tacomaboy3
I know this has been covered NUMEROUS times before, but I'm going to ask anyway.
For the nurses who started as a new grad in the ICU, how did it go? Do you wish you had prior experience in another unit before the ICU? Did you feel well-supported as a new grad in the ICU?
Pros/cons of starting in the ICU? Go.
I started in Med/Surg, and that worked for me. I had already learned the basic nursing skills plus how to talk to patients, families, physicians, pharmacists, etc. I had organizational skills and a solid knowledge base. I had already developed my critical thinking skills. All I had to do was add in the ICU specialty skills, so it was a relatively smooth transition.
Speaking as an experienced preceptor, some new grads will thrive in the ICU, some will fail and some aren't interested in ICU at all other than as a stepping stone to "bigger and better" things. I'd advise anyone to get some Med/Surg experience first. I realize that's an unpopular opinion these days, and many new grads who started in the ICU feel that they're doing just great without the med/surg experience. Some of them actually ARE doing just great. Many of them are more confident than they are competent, which is a problem. MOST of them would have benefitted from either CNA experience or Med/Surg experience.
The pros of starting in the ICU -- avoiding Med/Surg, which seems to be unreasonably hated and disrespected.
The cons -- learning all the basics at the same time you're learning the specialty. It's difficult. Never getting the opportunity to see the wide variety of patients seen in Med/Surg which may challenge your idea of what you really find interesting. And nurses who start in the ICU seem to lack career longevity. They burn out faster. I used to think that was a function of having started in the ICU; now I'm wondering if the kind of people who skip the basics aren't just the same kind of people who burn out faster and lack career longevity anyway. It would be an interesting area to study.