Critical Care University

  1. Hello to all! My apologies right off the back for a question that has been bandied about time and again; I just want to put a different spin on it. I will be graduating in May and know that I would like to be an ER nurse. I have been thinking (and reading all the previous posts) about whether or not I should do a year of M/S before going to ER, or going to the ER directly out of school. Obviously this has been talked about before - over and over! But, I have a new option now. A local hospital is offering a ten-month "Critical Care University" that (according to their Nurse Recruiter) is designed specifically to "bridge the gap" between new RN's and an RN that is able to efficiently work ER, ICU, PACU & tele. I think this sounds like it could be right up my alley. What do you think? If I skip the program, I will not be able to do it later, it is only for new RN's. But, do you think I will be sorry that I didn't do at least a year in M/S before just transferring to ER the normal way? Thanks! :spin:
  2. Visit arv profile page

    About arv

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 16


  3. by   oldiebutgoodie
    Well, I would think that you need to be pretty good at your skills when working in an ER. You need to start IVs, draw blood, hang blood, insert Foleys, assist in codes, intubations, etc. (Full disclosure--not an ER nurse).

    If you do a year of Med/Surg, you will have those skills down, (well, not the intubation part, and maybe not the blood drawing part). You will have also seen a lot, which helps with assessment skills.

    Have you worked as a tech or a phlebotomist? That would help a lot.

    However, I would like to here from ER nurses. Personally, I was a klutz and SLOW when I got out of nursing school, and would probably have driven the rest of the ER nuts if I had started there. But that was just me.

    Good luck in whatever you end up doing,

  4. by   sunnyjohn
    a 10-month training program for new grads in the specialty you want?


    Heck, take it! LOL!

    What else do ya want , an engraved invitation????
  5. by   gt4everpn
    take it, take it, take it, boy would i lovvvvvvveeeeee to do something like that!! its my dream, critical care!! 10 months, that just the right amount of time, grab it and run!! med-surg is a no go for you right now. good luck!!
  6. by   alkaleidi
    That sounds like an AWESOME opportunity.

    I agree with the many nurses that say that you need to have your skills up to par to succeed as an ER nurse, but I don't think that's the most important thing. I think that the top... say, 3 things... that you need to have as a nurse must include (a) autonomy and the ability to think quickly and make decisions on your own -- before consulting a physician, and (b) very keen organizational and prioritizing skills. What the 3rd thing is, I'm not sure.

    You can teach any person walking down the street how to insert a foley, start an IV, draw blood, etc. You can't teach any person (without a nursing curriculum, that is) how to assess and know how to start treating a patient while waiting for the ER MD to come in and see them. This is why many ED techs, a specialized name for CNAs, are trained to do much of the "tasking", and why it doesn't take a college degree to be a phlebotomist or a CNA. This is not meant to be offensive to techs or phleb's, but merely to point out that those things hopefully aren't the main focus of ER *RN* training. They're expected to be proficient, but in the first month of ED orientation, if you don't greatly improve at starting IVs/drawing blood, something's wrong!

    Honestly, (again, my personal opinion), those things come with time. The more you do them, the better you get. In the ED, you do them ALL the time, every day, so you get better VERY quickly! And when you get that difficult stick, all you have to do is say so, and I bet 100% of the time you have those nurses who "everybody goes to for hard IVs" jumping at the chance to accept the challenge!

    I have asked before on here, and to other nurses, whether there is some sort of "emergency nursing" or "critical care" course you can take *outside* of TNS, TNCC, ENPC, ACLS, and all the other acronyms, but haven't found any yet. I'd especially like an online course that covers the realm of emergency nursing, since I doubt anywhere near where I live will be offering something like that in the near future! But, I've found nothing. So... if I were you, I would JUMP on that -- I'm jealous! Sounds like a great learning experience and preparation for your future career as an ER RN!!!

    Good luck!
  7. by   Altra
    Quote from arv
    A local hospital is offering a ten-month "Critical Care University" that (according to their Nurse Recruiter) is designed specifically to "bridge the gap" between new RN's and an RN that is able to efficiently work ER, ICU, PACU & tele. I think this sounds like it could be right up my alley. What do you think? If I skip the program, I will not be able to do it later, it is only for new RN's. But, do you think I will be sorry that I didn't do at least a year in M/S before just transferring to ER the normal way? Thanks! :spin:
    I think it sounds like a great opportunity. This sounds like a hospital that understands the steep learning curve new grads face (including new grads who go to med-surg ...). Just be sure you know the facts:

    How long will you actually be on orientation with a preceptor? I'm assuming that 10 months of "critical care university" does not mean 10 months of orientation time. I would caution against anything less than 12 weeks, preferably 16 or longer.

    Will you be with one main preceptor, or will it be the flavor-of-the-day?

    What classroom time is included for those 10 months, and what is the didactic content of the classroom time?

    Will you be hired for one of those departments (a specific ICU, tele unit, ER, or PACU) or are they interested in developing a pool of nurses who can float throughout all of these areas? (probably not the best idea)

    If you are comfortable with the answers to these questions and you see evidence of adequate staffing and retention of experienced nurses, I'd say go for it! :spin: A year of med-surg is never a bad thing, and my hat is off to all med-surg nurses, but I don't think that the lack of med-surg experience necessarily hinders the development of new nurses.

    Good luck to you.
  8. by   kubivern
    That certainly sounds like an outstanding opportunity.

    I noticed a link on the web that described a similar (maybe the same) program in Maryland:

    As mentioned earlier, a year of med-surg is great and having all the skills is great, but when an opportunity like this comes along, you just can't beat it! All that training, a job on completion, and pay - I say go for it!

    Good luck either way!
  9. by   palkie

    first, let me say that i completely, totally disagree with the whole idea of "gotta have med-surg before icu or er" baloney. i've heard it for years - since i was in school, and i'm sorry to everyone who's for it, but poo, poo, poo, on that!!!

    i hated med-surg in school, i wanted er, but when i got out of school the ed i wanted wasn't hiring anymore new grads. so i checked out the icus. well, our hospital's sicu handled transplants (kidney, liver, lung), surgical, trauma, and burn patients. wow! i was sold, and fortunately they were hiring new grads. i loved it. sure, i was terrified for a year (maybe more!!) but they trained me well, and i never killed anybody!!

    our hospital also offered - and still does - critical care classes for all new icu nurses. they have changed it several times over the years (i started over 15 years ago!) but it is still a good program. they also have had several critical care nurse intern programs. with those, you work in 3 or 4 icus over several months, then pick which one suits you best. your critical care university sounds a little like the intern program, which has been very successful.

    i'd either take this opportunity, or just take a job in er or icu if that's what you really want, and if they hire new grads. oh yeah, later i was glad to be in icu instead of er. i realized it just 'worked' for me - i was a much better icu nurse, than i would have been an er nurse - but that's just me. i stayed in the sicu for 5 years, only moving when they opened a new specialized trauma/burn intensive care, because i found that i gravitated to those patients, and trauma and burns was my real love. i stayed there another 10 years. i've never worked med-surg; i became a charge nurse, and i've seen many, many new grads turn into fabulous icu nurses. you just have to be on your toes, absorb everything you can, always, always continue to learn - never, ever think you know it all! and ask questions!! there are no stupid questions!! really.

    good luck - i say go for it!!
  10. by   BBFRN
    I say go for it. Do not pass go, do not collect $100! Take the classes, and stay on the track you want to be on.
  11. by   traumaRUs
    I would also take the 10 month Critical Care University - sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Good luck.
  12. by   arv
    Thanks for all your replies! The link that is posted above is, in fact, the Critical Care University that I'm speaking of. I'm actually going to go to a dinner they are having Monday night, where they will have th DON, nurse recruiters, heads of all departments and also former/current students on hand. It sounds like a good fit from what they have told me initially, but I will have the opportunity to have more questions answered at that time. Wish me luck!
  13. by   ExCorporateRN
    Sounds like a wonderful opportunity! TAKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  14. by   cousx2
    the way my preceptor with 35 years of experience put it was: "med-surg floors make med-surg nurses. the er makes er nurses." i do not subscribe to the old school thinking that med-surg nursing is the only way to learn how to be a nurse and it sounds like your hospital doesn't either. that's why they're offering this course to new nurses only.

    i just got my nursing license in july and i am currently taking my hospital's version of your hospital's "critical care university" and i love it! they are paying me to learn!!!! paying me to do what i love to do! does it get any better??? like you, i knew even before i started nursing school where i wanted to work: the ed. i also know that eventually, i want to move to the icu environment. working in med-surg is a waste of time, to me, when i know i hate it and am poorly suited to that environment.

    if you know this is what you want to do, then take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. if you love the critical care environment and the er as much as i do, you won't regret it. :spin: