ICU vs Med Surg for New Grad? - page 2

I am graduating in May and was recently interviewed at a local VA hospital. They currently have 2 openings. One is in Med-Surg and the other in ICU. The Med-Surg position is about a 6-8 week... Read More

  1. by   Tanker
    I am still in school (2nd semester BSN) and I have an opinion on the matter. I think going to a unit other than med/surg out of school is definitely doable and should be pursued. There is a big "but" (no pun intended). It all depends on the individual. Each grad brings different experiences. I have read through this thread and others with great interest. I had the same questions about ICU vs Med/Surg. I have read and understand each side of the issue.

    For me, I want to go to a unit. Nursing is a 2nd career for me. I am 45 and have some life experiences that many of my younger classmates (80% are 21-25yo) don't have. I hear one the arguments for med/surg to develop time mgt skills. I think I have developed those just fine throughout my business and military career. Stressful situations and decision making is not a problem for me. Now, for a younger person or a person who does not have these skills then the med/surg would probably be the place to start.

    One should try and shadow these areas to see what it is like. At our school, which is affilliated with a teaching hospital, they have Student Nurse Assisstant positions. This is a great win-win proposition. You work with the Nurse Recruiter to find an area of interest and interview with the unit. If they feel you have potential they hire you. Granted you do not do licensed RN stuff but you will learn a lot about the unit and perhaps do some floating to other areas. They are very flexible with the hours. This way you get to see if you are interested in the unit and if you think you would be comfortable and the unit gets to test drive you! This can lead to an externship over the summer working with a preceptor in the unit. If you do well with all of that then they are definitely going to recruit you to the unit and definitely be much more comfortable and ready to hit the floor running or at least skipping .

    There are several in my class that were accepted as SNA in the PICU here, me included. I think it is going to be a wonderful experience. The mgr said that we would bring maturity to the unit. Made me feel good. He wants people who can manage time and commitments. I was totally impressed with his "pride of ownership" of the unit and the obvious pt advocacy he displayed. I want to be part of that team environment.

    So, after all of this, if I decide that the PICU or other ICU is where I want to be (and I don't see why I wouldn't). I think I, and others that are qualified, will do just fine. They do seem to want the best grads and are willing to work with them so they succeed.

    I do not want to go to the med/surg floor based on what I have found from this board and from other nurses I have talked to. Too many pts and not enough time. There is talk of developing skills but how do you develop those skills if you can't do everything that is supposed to be done? Seems like a Catch-22. I would be frustrated and feel I wasn't doing my job because I didn't do everything that needed to be done. The multitasking would not be the issue. The issue would be that if I had 12 pts with a list of 10 things each needed and I could only get to 3 items each. I would not be pleased with myself.
  2. by   Town & Country
    I went from graduating straight into ICU.

    Big, big mistake.

    Start in med/surg. She need to learn how to "think like a nurse", critical thinking skills, and you need experience to be able to handle ICU, I think everyone should start in Med/Surg, JMO, though.

  3. by   suzanne4
    jfpruitt: Before making a decision based on what you expect the physical load to be like, you need to know exactly what your health concerns they keep you from being on your feet too many hours in the day, do you have problems lifting something heavy, do you have problems pushing something that is heavy. In ICU, it strictly depends on your assignment that day, you may have only two patients but you may be transporting your patient back and forth for procedures on a cart, and have only one helper. Before making a decision as to which area to work, decide what you will be able to tolerate as far as physical needs. But don't forget, hospital nursing isn't always IT for everyone. I know that you are looking at the VA hospital, but have you ever considered clinic-type nursing, they have those positions at the VA if you still desire to work with adults. Or working with children or babies? The options aer actually endless. Just remember that floor nursing, whether med-surg or ICU is quite physically demanding.

    Good luck to whatever you choose.