Specialties General Specialties


ER or PCU floor? General thoughts to which one you’d prefer. 

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

This is a very common question, usually with ICU, you might find a few threads with more feedback.

You are almost comparing apples and oranges here, while they're both nursing positions they have very different stressors, skills and environments. I have a few colleagues that have worked both- most started in the ER and then came to ICU, and they enjoyed both. But many of them have said they don't think they could have gone from the ICU to the ED. 

I could never handle the ED job or population. The variety in patient acuity- hangnail or heart attack- you never know what's coming in, the very rapid pace and patient turnover, I just know that it doesn't fit with my personality. I am grateful that there are nurses that enjoy that environment and one of them could give you more insight into the positive aspects.

I like the critical care/PCU focus myself. Learning about the medications, the patient conditions, trying to keep PCU patients out of the ICU with excellent monitoring and care- those are the things that I like. 

Good luck finding what will work best for your goals!

Specializes in CEN, Firefighter/Paramedic.

tl:Dr - you're choosing between order and chaos.

JBMmom's description of the ED is succinct.  It is variety to the extreme, and your day can change any second with the next medic who calls in or the next memaw who walks in the door, and it's exactly what I love about it.  You will be in situations where you'll have the ICU patient who's still waiting on their bed upstairs where they'll be 1:1, but you'll have them and 3-4 other patients to juggle.  Titrate their pressor, then head to 4 to give them their zofran and discharge paperwork, over to 3 to ask if their pain medicine worked, back to your ICU patient to see if your last levo bump brought their map to 65, "medic 35 to the ED, we're en route to your facility with a stroke alert"...  Some people can't handle that and I understand, but I thrive on it.

Personally, I don't think I could ever work the floor after working ED.  I like the freedom and relative autonomy of the ED. I like finding something and being able to walk straight to the providers face to face and say "hey I think this is happening" and the two way interaction that follows.  I like the variety and chaos. 

Specializes in Infusion, Nurse Educator.

I love @FiremedicMike 's response. I have been in the ED for three weeks and I am LOVING it! Fast paced and a variety of situations. Simple flu cases to a saw in the foot... (literally someone had a saw in their foot yesterday) ?It's the best!

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