ICU RN considering assisted living


Hello my fellow nurses! I have a rather interesting subject/topic to discuss and think this might be the best place to do it. I gained my BSN back in May 2016 and have since worked in one of the highest acuity ICU's in the country (People fly in from other states/countries to be in my unit... crazy!) My original aspiration was to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA), however I quickly found out that ICU / critical care was not for me. While going from new grad into a competent ICU nurse was THE hardest thing I have ever done (It also took a huge personal toll on me,) I feel I am ready to move on.

I took interest in becoming a FNP instead, and started school in August (First semester almost done, yay!) I have been working at the ICU just part-time since. One of my bigger issues with my ICU job is the commute, which is 50+ minutes each way. I have been applying everywhere near since the summer, and I finally got a interview this coming week for an assisted living home about 5 minutes from my house. This position was posted for a LPN, however I don't mind a paycut as finances really arn't an issue for me at this time.

So here is the thing, coding/super sick patients/devastated families and all the other things that come with being an ICU nurse really drained me to the core. Some people thrive in this environment, namely your adrenaline junkies etc... But it took me the experience to figure out that this isn't my personality at all. Anyone who has had experience in a hospital setting, namely critical/acute care, mind shedding some light on how assisted living nursing is? Being in school, having lost a family member recently, I am just looking for a less stressful job setting at this point. From what I was able to gather reading online, most assisted living facilities have "patients" that mostly can do their own ADLs etc...

Now I'm not trying to say that any nursing field is stress free, quite far from it, however it does sound to me this is more laid back type of nursing and it is much less driving for me. Where I live, winters are usually not pleasant and I would really like to avoid 2-3 hour commutes to the hospital if I can. What do you guys think? Would this be a wise move? I am not given the job yet as the interview is next week, however if given the job what would you guys do in my situation? I am all about new experiences, money isn't a huge factor for me right now, what I'm in school for (FNP), leaving the ICU wouldn't be an issue.

bluegeegoo2, LPN

1 Article; 753 Posts

Specializes in LTC. Has 11 years experience.

Given your current situation, I would probably go for it. As you stated, no form of nursing is stress-free, but in my experience, assisted living is fairly laid back. (Depending on staffing, of course. Always with the staffing.)

It's been several years since I worked in an AL facility, but compared to my current role (LTC) it wasn't nearly as stressful.

I am aware that my experiences are dated, and admit I have no idea what level of acuity "they" consider acceptable in today's AL's, so please keep that in mind.

Best of luck.


7 Posts

I have only been in ICU-hospital setting for clinical in nursing school. Otherwise I have worked in AL since 2012 as CNA, LPN, now RN as "ADON" for 2 years.

I hated the hospital setting, but it probably does not help much that I don't really like the "skills". I prefer to spend time with the residents and have a second family, not have different patients every other day. I love AL, but it is different than any other realm of nursing. RN is on call 24/7 is really the go to person for all questions your staff has. Staff does not have to be previously trained in healthcare (at lease in Iowa). We could pull anyone off the street and they are working under your nursing license. In conjunction with this, if a staff member calls in - you are likely going to be working the floor. Currently I only have to be on call 1 weekend/mo and at anytime when the "DON" (healthcare coordinator is what the position is called where I work) is out of the building for leave or any other reasons. You are putting yourself out there and flexibility would be required - at a moments notice you may need to go cover the floor. I think if you are okay with that then AL would be great for you. I see all of the turn-over AL has and it makes me sad, but it really is sort of a strain depending on the position you are in. The relationships you make with residents and families are amazing and I think that is the main reason AL nurses continue to do what they do! Good luck in whatever you decide and hope I helped some.