I need some advise on ICU jobs


  • Specializes in ER. Has 2 years experience.

Hey everybody!

So here is my situation...I currently work in a level one trauma center/large teaching hospital as a emergency room nurse. I am in the processing of moving right now and I will be living about 40-45 mins from my current place of employment. I interviewed at a level two hospital today in the town I am moving to for a SICU position, full time, and I really like the hospital and unit, but I know that if I got a job in the unit at my current facility it would look better for applying to anesthesia school. I guess what I am trying to say is that it would be way more convienient to take the job at the level two hospital because it would be only 5 min's from the place I am moving to. So do I suck it up and stay at the level one center of take a risk and start the job in SICU that's close to home?


139 Posts

I don't think you would be at any significant disadvantage by taking the job closer to home. SICU is great experience for anesthesia school and I think you'll develop relationships within your first year there that will serve as the source for your recommendations. You could probably still request a recommendation from your supervisor at the ED you currently work at that will attest to characteristics about you and skills you developed while there (where they knew you longer), and an additional letter from the SICU supervisor/co-workers who will be able to attest to your ICU nursing skills. Even though most programs do not count ED experience alone as sufficient for "Critical Care" experience, surely at the place you are now some of that experience would be considered really valuable and only add to your skill set as an ICU nurse.

Plus, 40-45 minutes is a very long commute after a 12+ hr shift!



29 Posts

Specializes in Trauma ICU.

I have to somewhat disagree. Level 2 SICU vs Level 1 SICU would put you at a disadvantage-all things being equal. However, if you make the most of your experience and learn what you need to learn, getting CCRN if you choose or taking classes etc....

Ultimately no one can have the perfect background and you need to do what would make you happy and most content right now. So if Level 2 is more convenient and a better life style choice then do that, just work to make up for the fact that you are not in a Level 1 trauma center.

Just my opinion.


87 Posts

Specializes in icu/er ccrn.

man i agree with the last post. i would take the closer job in the sicu & soak up as much icu knowledge you can before the interview process. i work in a small icu in mississippi but we are always full and rock & roll constantly, had around 5 nurses goto crna programs with in last 8-10 yrs, im hopen to interview within a yr. dont let a smaller unit dampen your hopes. give it a shot, if you still find yourself worrying go part time/prn at the level I if possible.


39 Posts

Specializes in PICU. Has 3 years experience.

If I were in your shoes, I would take the SICU job close to your home in the level II hospital. The reason is because of the short distance to your home, and anesthesia schools don't really care a whole lot what type of ICU you have, as long as you have the year of experience. The University of MN is a level II, but has a rediculous SICU that is full of sick patients that are vented, and have multiple drips, and have produced a ton of anesthesia students. If you think that this move will hinder your chances, then get your CCRN cert to show that you have the knowledge about high acuity patient care skills. Good luck with whatever you choose, but if you're determined that you are going to one day don the mask as a CRNA then it will happen!



145 Posts

Specializes in CVICU, CCRN, now SRNA.

I would get out of trauma altogether... You've had the glorious trauma ED experience, which is highly valuable. I think going to any trauma-oriented SICU would just be more of the same (except more long term management). I would augment what you already have with a cardiac surgical unit of some kind. You'll learn way more patho & likely use more advanced life-supporting modalities (more lines, vents, drugs, IABP, CRRT, VADs, etc).


139 Posts

I sort of agree with both posts...certainly the level I trauma would look great on your applications, but I think admissions committees also tend to recognize that Level II's and smaller (but still high acuity) ICU's can give you excellent experience. I'd make sure that the SICU at the Level II place will still offer the type of experience you are hoping for (vascoactive drips and drugs, vents, etc).

The idea of the previous poster to take the job closer to home and do some prn shifts at the Level I place further away a few times per month might be pretty cool. Then you could personally compare the experience you are getting at each place and decide if you should continue with the Level I + the long commute or do the Level II SICU job.

I think the experience itself is ultimately more important than the Trauma rating of the facility though. Remember your application is going to be a total package that represents you. Your experience is one of several variables considered. Your previous grades, previous work experience, GRE scores, recommendations, personal statement, etc. all play an important factor as well.




9 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 2 years experience.

Just want to say THANKS EVERYBODY for your input!!!! I would like to update everyone and say that I took the SICU job at the level II hospital close to home. I am very excited about it. When I interviewed for the job I made sure that I would be getting to work with pt's that are going to be on vents, vasoactive drips, etc...the only thing they don't get is open heart pt's..bummer...but they do CRRT which will be neat to learn. I am going to study for the GRE this summer and then get my CCRN as soon as I have the required hours. I am about a year out from finishing my BSN so I am just going to soak up all the experience that I can and learn as much as humanly possible before its time for me to apply. So thanks again everyone for the input!!!