Jump to content

Does it feel to everyone else that many newer nurses glamourize the ER and ICU?

Updated | Posted

Specializes in Psych. Has 2 years experience.


I'm curious. Most of the people I went to school with want to be ICU or ER nurses. They've never worked in the ICU or the ER but that's all they want to do. I told one girl who refused to work anywhere else other than ICU to go into a nursing home if she needs a job. She refused it and it took her a few months to finally go into a nursing home. She quit after a month because of her standards. It's the same thing when it comes to med surg and psych nursing. It feels like many newer nurses look down upon any other nurses other than ER and ICU.

Another girl I know said she's wanted to work as a psych nurse forever, but when she was offered the ER position and psych position she took the ER position. I asked her why she chose ER over psych and she said she knows ER better. Now she complains about the work load from a trauma 2 hospital. I asked her why she didn't just transfer into psych since it's what she wanted and she didn't really give me a concrete answer just basically that she's stuck.

Does it feel that way to anyone else? When it comes to ER/ICU it feels like they only respect those specialties. Thanks!


Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 35 years experience.

Age old problem that some areas are seen as glamourous and others not. we had a great thread on this back in 2011


I second what I said back then 9 years ago. 

For me it's oncology or infectious diseases. Never been attracted by the ER or the ICU and while I value those nurses' skills, I value others too.

Personally I've the greatest respect for nurses in LTCs.

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

The wound care nurses seem amazing to this ER nurse. They can do a wound vac with their eyes closed. Their mastery of technique,  terminology,  and the myriad of dressings is utterly astonishing. 

Sour Lemon, you never cease to amaze me! I almost snorked up a raisin over that last line. 

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

As a previous poster said, this is an age-old problem.   Some units are perceived as being "better" than others.    When I was in school many years ago, the "glamour unit" was the CCU.   In some children's hospitals, the most popular units with students is the oncology unit.   People have favorites and preferences for the type of work they do.   That is to be expected.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

5 hours ago, Sour Lemon said:

 When someone disrespects me, I just key their car or sleep with their husband.

Ah. I take a slightly different tact. I sleep in their car and key their husband...

11 hours ago, Sour Lemon said:

And every new nurse I meet now wants to be an NP, a CRNA, or the #1 Mega Supreme Ruler of the Universe.


Hilarious. I concur, that is the general theme. Especially the delusions of grandeur part. No wonder there's no time for teaching stupid clinical skills in nursing school. There's important stuff to learn, like how to be delusional.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

I can't imagine anyone glamourizing the ICU right now.

I think it has to do with what seems "sexy" or heroic.  Also, it is what non-healthcare people think nurses do - work in ER, deliver babies, save lives in the ICU. 

The RN jobs I have had/enjoyed are never the jobs that are desirable to students/new grads (LTC, wound care, etc.).  

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.


15 hours ago, Sour Lemon said:

... every new nurse I meet now wants to be... the #1 Mega Supreme Ruler of the Universe.

Psych was my first love, but I've stayed current in med/surg...

Belinda worked med/surg and I worked psych at Wrongway. One night I told Belinda's daughter, "We have to go to work now,  to save lives and fight the demons of mental illness!"

0.9%NormalSarah, ADN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 2 years experience.

I was one of those students who wanted to go ICU because I really enjoyed diving a little deeper into pathophysiology and labs and lots of meds, and I like when the pressure is on. I just feel you get to do more of that when you have time with 1 or 2 patients. I have the deepest respect for all my friends that went to Tele, med surge, peds, L&D, LTC, etc. We are all different and want different things out of work, and those areas require skills I either was never good at or never developed after nursing school. We are all working together for the patients.

subee, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired. Has 49 years experience.

1 hour ago, Davey Do said:


Belinda worked med/surg and I worked psych at Wrongway. One night I told Belinda's daughter, "We have to go to work now,  to save lives and fight the demons of mental illness!"

Thanks for reminding me to do my kegels.

20 hours ago, Sour Lemon said:

And every new nurse I meet now wants to be an NP, a CRNA, or the #1 Mega Supreme Ruler of the Universe.

But they cannot be the #1 Mega Supreme Ruler of the Universe.  I am the #1 Mega Supreme Ruler of the Universe!  My wife even told me I am allowed to say that...just not in her presence.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 9 years experience.

those two, plus L&D, have always been the most desired spots, I feel. 

Personally, y'all can have them 😉


speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

I started in the ER not because I thought it was “glamorous” but because it was my comfort level. I was a paramedic prior to becoming a nurse so I think I was actually afraid to do another nursing specialty starting out. I knew emergencies as a paramedic.....I knew it would be an easier transition to the ED than the floors or ICU or OR. 


Specializes in ED, med-surg, peri op. Has 4 years experience.

They seem exciting at first, but most people who go into those specialties never stay. a lot of people get annoyed/bored/burnt out. 

as a current ER nurse, I’m glad for the opportunities that it provides for my future. But no way will I be staying. I’m ready for a Monday-Friday job! Long term I plan on going rural. 

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED. Has 10 years experience.

When I was in school a lot of folks wanted ED, ICU or peds. I had many classmates though who wanted to do med surg or psych. I had many classmates who were also not sure where they wanted to work. There’s definitely more cultural exposure to what nurses in the ICU and ED do.

When I graduated, I knew I wanted to work in the ED but the job market was only just rebounding from a really bad few years for new grads so I applied everywhere and had one job offer in a peds ED. I left after just under 2 years to get experience in an adult er because I was worried about getting pigeon-holed in peds and lasted 5 months before going back to peds in med surg. I had had zero interest in peds in school and thought it was kinda soft and fluffy, but it turns out to be what I love. I’ve been back in peds er nursing since and it’s where I plan to stay for the foreseeable future, and I never plan to leave peds. I often wonder if I’d have left ED nursing entirely if I’d started out in an adult er.