ICU to PI/QI Advice Needed


Hello everyone-

I have been an ICU RN for the past 4 years and feel that I am ready to transition into non bedside while I complete my FNP program.

There might be a high chance of me getting a position in PI/QI and simply wanted to know for those of you who did bedside (ICU or not) how was the transition? Did you like it or not?

I usually do 3 12s per week, this position would be M-F 8-5pm. How stressful is PI/QI compared to bedside nursing (ICU or not). How autonomous is it as well?

My role if I chose to do it would deal with sepsis.

Thanks again,


6 Posts

I've been in Quality for several years. The amount of autonomy is varied and dependent upon the environment and particular set up of your organization. It is a different kind of stress than you get at the bedside. At times, it is frustrating to deal with issues that you know need to be fixed, but there isn't support to make the necessary changes--due to apathy, finances, time, other resources. There is often a push to fix something immediately, however, when you get down to the root cause(s) of the problem, it is more complicated than anyone anticipated. To make lasting improvement, you need buy in from the whole team and especially from your management/executive team. Getting used to the M-F 8-5 is not bad, except that if you have appointments or other things that you normally due during weekdays, you have to get used to doing them on the weekends--stores are much more crowded on the weekends--or take a paid day off to get things done.

I miss direct patient care and it was an adjustment for me. The thing that helped me the most was the idea that I can only help a few patients at a time with direct patient care, however, the work I'm doing in PI/QI is setting up systems/education that will allow me to help patients on a grander scale.

Like most jobs, they look easier from the outside than the actually are. Do you know a little more about the duties you will be expected to perform? It's a job that requires patience. The data gathering piece can be labor intensive--not difficult, just time-consuming. Once you have the data, you need to figure out any root causes of issues, barriers to fixing the problems and set about knocking those down to make improvements. There are lots of PI techniques-you need to get familiar with those. You'll need good communication and leadership skills to get people involved and trialing approaches to come up with one that you feel will be a good fit for the team/organization.