ICU vs PICU Novice Question

  1. All:

    This weekend I attended open house at St. Joseph's School of Nursing in Syracuse, NY. Part of the day included a tour of the hospital and I wanted to ask?

    Do any of you switch between the Pediatric ICU and the Adult ICU (might be called MICU at this particular hospital)? How hard is it to bounce between the two floors? Or are they two separate/idependent disciplines within the nursing field?

    I talked with one of the nurses in the MICU (been there 12 yrs), and she said that she never goes down to the Pediatric ICU.

    I am just getting started in the nursing field, so sorry if this may seem like a novice question.


    John Coxey
  2. Visit SirJohnny profile page

    About SirJohnny, BSN, LPN

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 399; Likes: 125
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics


  3. by   cactus wren
    PICU and NICU...scarry places !!! Although I have done brief ...very,very brief...with both. Like coming in for shift, and seeing OHIO unit in my isolatio room... My first question always was.." And when is the transport team arriving?" If was told 30 minutes, I was a happy camper.

    The problem is that, yes ,is so very specialized, drugs are different, doses are so totally different. If the patient is a 14 yr./180 pound male..then ok...those are allmost, and treated as adults...Reyes Syndrome...But the 18 month with RSV, on a vent....not this nurse...except for short periods...again waiting for transport....Part of this stems from working in rural enviroment, and the thought that a critically ill small person needs a Pedi doc( which is not avavilable)
  4. by   kimprn
    The pediatric ICU is a completely different discipline than the adult ICU, requiring specialized nursing of the child (not little adults) and should be staffed as such.
    A nurse who allows him/herself to practice both PICU/MICU, should be knowledgeable, competent and oriented appropriately. Not doing so, is dangerous (to the patient and your license) and a hospital that allows otherwise, warrants monitoring.
    As a new nurse, it would be advisable to choose one or the other specialty until you are comfortable enough to learn a new specialty.
    Welcome to critical care!
  5. by   Sally_ICURN
    As cactus wren and kimprn stated, pedi/neonatal ICU and adult ICU are two completely different beasts. As an adult ICU nurse I only float between the two adult ICU's and never float to PICU or NICU. It's completely seperate except for the cardiac surgery Residents who sometimes cover call for adult and pedi/nicu on off-hours depending what pg year they are and their experience. But many years ago on my cardiothoracic surgery ICU, the unit used to be combined pedi and adult to make an extremely specilized heart surgery unit. I've heard of talk of combining it again, but it will not materialize because peds is a huge seperate children's hospital now where it wasn't before the late 1980's, and it's only structurally connected to the adult hospital. Maybe in smaller hospitals, the nurses do cover both.

    p.s. John, Critical Care is AWESOME!
    Last edit by Sally_ICURN on Mar 10, '03
  6. by   SirJohnny

    Thanks for the replies.

    I am torn between whether I want to go into adult ICU or pediatric ICU. Clinicals are still a year away for me, but the tour really got me excited and of course my brain is going 100mph.

    My career goals are to eventually do the travel nurse thing - much like I used to do with Hewlett-Packard (traveling from site to site). But most of the critical-care jobs I see are for adult ICU (they just say ICU in advertisement).

    Also, I think I may want to eventually go for CRNA (I know, a super long road ahead), and am wondering if the PICU would count towards the ICU requirements for CRNA school. (probably asking on the wrong board for this).


    Anyhow, keep the comments/suggestions comming.

    Thanks again,

    John Coxey
  7. by   nimbex
    Having worked in a Cardiothoracic ICU, open heart surgery, I can tell you all the staff that went on to their CRNA chose this unit because of the accute post op, which is very similar to intra op and counts and the needed experience for a CRNA. When we do emergent open hearts on nights, it is common for the receiving nurse, who will not have another assignment to go into the OR and manage the IABP or BIVAD. We crack chests at bedside during codes and insert IABP at bedside. this is the best experience a nurse can get prior to thier CRNA.

    If you are blessed with a pediatric unit that does invasive cardiac surgery, tetrology of fallot, and malposition of the great artery, even ventricular septal defect repair..... and your TRUE LOVE is pediatrics and you wish to specialize in peds. CRNA, than go this route. However a pediatric ICU that does not do invasive corrective surgery, will not prepare you for the CRNA requirements. Choose your hospital wisey.

    Good luck
  8. by   RNforLongTime
    I work in an adult surgical/trauma/cardiovascular ICU. My facility doesn't have a may be in the works as my facility is building a new Womens and Childrens Hospital opening in 2005. We do get Peds pt's in my unit as we are the only Level II Trauma hospital in a 100 mile radius or so. More often than not the peds Trauma pt's that are in Critical Condition are usually transferred to Pittsburgh Childrens Hospital.

    I will probably get PALS certified hopefully by the end of this year or the beginning of 2004.

    Good Luck with your schooling!

  9. by   llg
    John: There are plenty of travel opportunities for PICU nurses. I say, "Go where your heart tells you to go." No matter which specialty you choose, there will be good days and bad days. The best you can do for yourself and for your patients is to be in the place that fits your interests and talents the best. Use your school time to discover those interests and talents.

    Good luck,
  10. by   SirJohnny
    llg & All:

    Right now I am just exploring the waters. Just not sure what road I want to take. But there's plenty of time for that later.

    I just think I would get more satisfaction out of helping kids than some 80 yr old. And that's really why I am getting into this profession. For me, it's not the $$ (I do ok with the computer job), but I want to get some satisfaction out of what I do for a living.

    Also, I eventually want to get into the position where I can travel around the country - work for 13 weeks (I guess that's the standard length travel assignment) - then take a week or two off to go fly-fishing (my real passion in life) - then repeat the cycle over again.

    In my current position - yeah, we get 3 weeks vacation a year But try getting more than 2 or 3 days off in a row. Pretty tough.

    Gotta run, boss is screaming.

    John Coxey
  11. by   fab4fan
    John: Why don't you send a PM to kmchugh...he's a CRNA, and he could probably address your specific questions.