I originally posted this to the Student Nurses' Forum but it was suggested I move it to General to get a better response.
I have to write a fairly lengthy paper on one of the nursing specialties and I've picked ICU, mostly because I work in a veterinary ICU now.
Can anyone suggest some sites with good info on the various ICU subspecialties? I've seen a list here but I'm hoping to be able to gather enough information about the individual subspecialties to write several paragraphs about each.
I'm also looking for sites (or you folks) that will give me information on such things as -
What personaltity types are generally drawn to the specialty?
What certifications are required? Which are preferred but not required?
What is the average experience of an ICU nurse before entering the specialty? (Possible flame-bait, feel free to PM me about this one)
What skills set an ICU nurse apart from other specialties? (I see this one as another possible flame-bait, PM me if ya like)
Is the ratio of men:women RNs different in ICU/CCU than other specialties?
I'd like to see some numbers as far as what % of the RN workforce work in ICU specialties as well if anyone knows where I could find it.
At some point in the forseeable future, I'd also like to arrange an "interview" with an ICU RN, perhaps via AIM or in the chat room here if there are any volunteers.
Mar 7, '03
The best site to go for information would be the AACN website. This is the professional organization for critical care nurses. You can do a Google search for other nursing organizations as well.
I can't quote statistics about any of your questions, just answer from my own personal experience. It seems to me that mostly "A" type personalities go in to critical care. Most of my co-workers are driven and ambitious. I have worked with a few people who tried critical care because they thought it would be easy to have only two patients. These individuals found out they were wrong very quickly.
I was an RN for 10 years working in med surg before I went in to ICU. That is longer than most of my co-workers. The average for them is around 2-4 years. A few even came in as GNs, but I would not recommend that. It can be overwhelming, and I think you need some med surg experience before you enter any specialty.
You need to have BLS and ACLS to work in ICU. CCRN is preferred, but not required. Most hospitals also provide a critical care course. Ours is four weeks, some are shorter, and some are longer.
All of the specialties, not just critical care, seem to attract more men. The ratio of men to women in our unit varies, depending on turnover. Right now we have four male nurses. Not long ago, one third of our staff was male.
I would be more than happy to provide any further help you may need. If you want to do an interview, just let me know when. If you would like to just do it over the phone, I will PM you with my number.