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How does a person get started in ICU?

MICU   (957 Views 4 Comments)
by Jo Dirt Jo Dirt (Member)

Jo Dirt has 9 years experience .

17,237 Profile Views; 3,270 Posts

I'm not a "new grad" but I might need to get some kind of a hospital job late this summer or in the fall. I know ICU can be high stress but I also know you have less patients to concentrate on. I'd be interested in getting training to work in an ICU but I can't even read a cardiac monitor.

I also can't even find an ACLS class going on around here. I call the education departments at the hospitals but they either say they only offer classes to their employees or they don't offer ACLS. I don't know where else to go. I know you have to start somewhere.

Where do I start?

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sissiesmama has 22 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in ER, TRAUMA, MED-SURG.

1,893 Posts; 21,757 Profile Views

Hey MM --- I saw your earlier posting about home health and was disappointed when I found out it was closed.

Anyway, to the topic at hand, I was like you wanting to get into ICU/CCU, and had been working on a busy med-surg unit, having up to 10-11 patients each. I got pulled to ICU a few times and decided I enjoyed it. The first thing I did was to take a basic EKG/dysrythmias (excuse the spelling!). I also had to wait for an ACLS class and the basic EKG got me ready for ACLS. I know a lot of places offer the ACLS class, the recert. class I think on the computer, but I have always done mine in the class situation. I also have some resource books that may be able to help you prepare.

Keep me posted, and pm if youd like to. Good luck!!

Anne, RNC

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sirI has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

14 Followers; 19 Articles; 13,124 Posts; 137,340 Profile Views

hi, motorcyclemama,

check out this sticky thread found in the ccu forum:

helpful information for the unit


excellent information/links that you can apply to the icu, too.


you can find how to locate an acls class in your area in one of those posts. you need to consider acls and other classes offered by the hospital where you will be employed for your employer will pay for these.


you do need acls, dysrrhythmia course, 12 lead ecg course for starters.


good luck


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smileyRn96 has 11 years experience and specializes in ER/ICU, CCRN, SRNA (class of 2010).

161 Posts; 1,909 Profile Views

You may get a lot of this acls and rhythm interpretation stuff in orientation. So look at local ICUs first and find out how they will orient you. You may want to try tele/step down type unit if you are real nervous. I started there so I am a little bias;) You are already a nurse and despite our own personal anxieties in nursing the transition from GN to RN was ten times harder then nursing home to icu. That is my own 0.02

Good Luck

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