Decisions!! Orthopedics, Oncology, or IMC?


I'm currently a 2nd semester nursing student and I just got a call back this morning for an externship I applied for over the summer. The good news is that I got accepted! Unfortunately I didn't get SICU/MICU as I have requested.... I got offered an Orthopedics opening. I was upset for a little bit, but after reading postings on the Ortho Nurses forum I'm a bit happier, ortho nurses seem to really love their job! I know I'm new and I should be happy to be exposed to any type of experience but I really want to be a SICU nurse in the future. I told the nurse recruiter that I would accept the position because I want to gain experience but would also love to be open to other options if they're available.

She emailed me back a little bit ago telling me that their ortho units is basically spine, knee and hip surgery. She also told me that there might be an opening for Oncology and IMC surgical stepdown unit and will let me know once she knows for certain.

So my question is, what unit should I chose? I know that none of them will be anything close to a SICU experience but which one would you say is the CLOSEST to it? I'm pretty much scratching oncology off my list but I just want to be certain. I have no idea what to expect from an IMC unit.

Specializes in Telemetry, CCU.

In my opinion and personal experience, I think IMC would be your best bet if you plan to go to critical care later (regardless if its MICU, SICU or some other ICU lol). The reason I say this is simple: These are the people who have just come out of the ICU, at least where I work. IMC patients need closer monitoring of vital signs, are on a cardiac monitor (you will learn rhythms which will give you a heads up for ICU) and where I work at we use the same documentation for IMC and ICU, so you can even see what the charting is like.

Also, you will get familiar with the disease processes that are common to critical care. Just to give you my background: I currently work on a tele/IMC floor. We have a variety of patients with cardiac/resp/renal/other problems. I will be starting in our CCU in a few weeks, after some classroom training. Even though I am used to seeing people a few days post-op CABG, I can make that connection to what I will soon be seeing, a few hours post-op CABG. In fact, I know of one hospital that required all its new grads to work for 6 months-1year on the step-down unit (essentially same thing as IMC).

Unless your SICU has tons of ortho pts, I don't necessarily think that it would be the best experience for you to prepare you for ICU, but really, any exp. you get will be very valuable to you. No offense to any ortho or onc nurses, just my :twocents: on how good IMC exp would be.


91 Posts

Specializes in ER, Cardiac Tele/ICU Stepdown.

I agree with the above poster. I work on an IMC unit. We get vents, different gtts like cardizem, dobutamine, amiodarone, heparin, insulin, etc. We take pts straight outta the ICU, sometimes yo-yo them back and forth between us and the ICU, lol. It's kinda scary, but it seems like pts come to us from the ICU very frequently when the ICU "needs a bed" and sends us their "most stable" pts, lol.. only to end up right back there.. But it's a great learning experience, I feel I've learned so much, so I definitely think you should go with the IMC


65 Posts

Thank you so much, both of you! I emailed her back telling her I'm more than willing to take that position if it becomes available. Now all I can do is wait. :uhoh3:

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