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How to get ICU New Grad

Posted

Has 2 years experience.

Hello all,

I am entering my senior year of a BSc Nursing degree at a top-30-in-world university (not sure if that's relevant). I appreciate that many say to get a med/surg job after grad BUT I would like to prepare myself for an ICU New Grad position as much as I can. Would someone please advise me if I am on the right track (I truly am not asking facetiously, but I want to know what else to add/gain experience in, or what I should look to do in my senior year)

  • Not sure if they teach this in the US (I'm in Canada, but a US citizen so will be returning) -> IV insertion/removal/management, PICC line dressing/care)
  • 3.8 nursing GPA
  • BLS certification
  • CNA at safety-net hospital in critical care COVID unit, floats to SICU, MICU, and Peds ED
  • Was CNA at COVID nursing home
  • VP of External Relations, Nursing Legislative Councillor, Nursing Senator (advocated for students on largest governing board of university), sat on 8+ university committees doing health policy and STI-prevention work at the student clinic
  • Research Assistant for national clinical guidelines on homeless health
  • Research Assistant for infectious diseases lab
  • Did French -> English translation for student health policy association
  • Mentor for Nursing Peer Mentorship Program
  • Mentor for International Student Services
  • Was selected to take Interprofessional Global Health Course at school (have certificate)
  • Tour Guide for school
  • Clinical Research in Diabetes
  • First author publication in Medical Education Simulation Development
  • Ran open houses for high school students to teach them about health professions, demonstrated IVs/phlebotomy
  • Clinical rotations in Critical Care, Hem/Onc, Cardiac, Palliative, Community Care, Obs/Postpartum, Geriatrics, Psych (community care was half online following elderly client, half in person community project with local clinic)

Thanks all!

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

Getting an ICU new grad position in the US, in pretty much any region, is a highly competitive venture, as I am sure you are aware. Combine that with COVID and hiring freezes and you are going to have an uphill battle.

Your experience looks good, though not in a way that will make you more qualified than another new grad for ICU. As a new grad, you aren't really going to have anything other than the basics to offer, so don't take that as a personal affront.

You will need to identify the hospitals in the area you hope to move to (more than one area will yield, obviously, more opportunities) and find out when they do their hiring for new grad residencies/internships and make sure you know the window for application.

I strongly advise you to open your mind to other areas of nursing as well. The more jobs you are willing to work, the more likely to are to land an acute care job.

Good luck!

sajeunesse

Has 2 years experience.

6 minutes ago, Nurse SMS said:

Getting an ICU new grad position in the US, in pretty much any region, is a highly competitive venture, as I am sure you are aware. Combine that with COVID and hiring freezes and you are going to have an uphill battle.

Your experience looks good, though not in a way that will make you more qualified than another new grad for ICU. As a new grad, you aren't really going to have anything other than the basics to offer, so don't take that as a personal affront.

You will need to identify the hospitals in the area you hope to move to (more than one area will yield, obviously, more opportunities) and find out when they do their hiring for new grad residencies/internships and make sure you know the window for application.

I strongly advise you to open your mind to other areas of nursing as well. The more jobs you are willing to work, the more likely to are to land an acute care job.

Good luck!

Thanks for all the advice! Yeah, I agree that I'm no more qualified than any other new grad (as you can't exactly set yourself up to do so). I am very open to other areas, but I wanted to see if anyone had advice about preparing myself for ICU. Because after all, if I don't get a new grad ICU job, I am still able to apply in other areas, but at least I tried to prepare myself.

As I get closer to graduation, I will begin to ID the hospitals I want to work in and do as you said. You said my "experience looks good, though not in a way that will make you more qualified than another grad for ICU". Is there something else I could be doing?

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

Try to get some ICU experience while in school. Pick ICU topics for required school papers, etc. (and include them on your resume). Try to do a clinical practicum in an ICU. Best of all, try to get a job (as a nursing assistant, volunteer, EMT experience as a part time EMT, etc. ) -- or any other experience you can get inside an ICU or similar unit (such as Emergency Room).

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

22 hours ago, sajeunesse said:

Thanks for all the advice! Yeah, I agree that I'm no more qualified than any other new grad (as you can't exactly set yourself up to do so). I am very open to other areas, but I wanted to see if anyone had advice about preparing myself for ICU. Because after all, if I don't get a new grad ICU job, I am still able to apply in other areas, but at least I tried to prepare myself.

As I get closer to graduation, I will begin to ID the hospitals I want to work in and do as you said. You said my "experience looks good, though not in a way that will make you more qualified than another grad for ICU". Is there something else I could be doing?

llg has good ideas above. If you can get a tech job in an ICU it would help.

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

If you have a certain hospital in mind, send an introduction letter to the manager, and ask if there are certifications or classes that she looks for in a candidate. In my region there is a critical care class, there's also ACLS, and TNCC.

You may need to do that year of medsurg to prove you can hack it, but I have no doubt you'll get there.

BONBON, BSN, RN

Specializes in Surgical Transplant.

I think your qualifications are strong but what is going to really put you ahead is your direct experience with the ICU. I think the best way to do that is put yourself in a position that has direct critical care experience, ie. anesthesia tech in the OR, a CNA/HCA on an ICU floor, etc. If you can do a capstone (or some kind of extended clinical experience, not sure what other schools call it) on an ICU that would be very beneficial as well. Having connections to an ICU and having some kind of critical care experience is extremely important

deannahamid, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Neurology/ER/ICU. Has 11 years experience.

Are you in Canada or in the USA?

Also where do you want to work? USA or Canada they both have different paths. I can share my experience as I have done that in both countries as a new Grad.

But I need to know the above 2 instances first to let you know.

deannahamid, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Neurology/ER/ICU. Has 11 years experience.

Are you in Canada or in the, USA?

Also, where do you want to work? USA or Canada as they both have different paths. I can share my experience as I have done that in both countries as a New Grad.

If you want to work in Canada take a post-graduate certificate in critical care along with ACLS/BLS, TNCC. Even with these certificates, you will have a very hard time getting into ICU. Usually, people work in Med-Surg for a few years before getting into ICU. I'll be surprised if you can work in Canada right after college in ICU.

If you want to work in the US as you are us citizen looks for a nurse residency program. There is no such thing in Canada but the USA is great for this. You can actually work right out of college in ICU if you can get into a residency program but you will be competing with anyone and everyone from the USA. I applied for Moses cone, Vanderbilt and Houston Methodist residency programs and was able to get in 2 of the 3 programs I applied about 5 years ago. So in the USA, it's highly possible to work in ICU right out of college provided you can get into a residency program. Remember they are super competitive so good luck.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

will you directly be able to take the US NCLEX with Canadian education, with no extra classes? I don’t know and am curious. Good luck on your ICU job hunt!

deannahamid, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Neurology/ER/ICU. Has 11 years experience.

Also you need to get a cgfns certificate to show that your education is comparable to USA standards. Takes about 6 months to get or you can get express service by paying extra $700 to have the certificate in 3 months. Your NCLEX will be valid as it's the exact same exam so no need to take a new exam. I would recommend getting it while in Canada as it will expedite a few things if you apply for cgfns certificate after NCLEX exam.

Edited by deannahamid

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

One huge advantage would be the willingness to move. Some markets have a greater need for staff, which translates to more choices- even for very new graduates.

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

Please don't take offense to this, but I think you need to cut your "list" at least by half. As a recruiting agent, I would probably look at your list and put your application on the bottom of my pile. Looks like you may be much too smart and talented to be working on my floor as a new grad. You have impressive accomplishments, but you don't need to oversell yourself in your resume. Hit the high spots, then wait for me to say, "tell me about yourself". And then add a few more things that might be related to skills used in the ICU. And above all, don't tell me that you graduated from one of the top 30 schools in the world. That's a little subjective, I probably know who they are and will make a mental note. So relax, "slow your roll" a little, and focus on interview skills, they will most likely be the determining factor. Good luck, I hope you find the position you're looking for.