Leave day shift for nights to go for my dream?

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in Med/surg oncology.

Hello! I am a nurse with one year experience on a med/surg unit. Out of school I was extremely lucky to get a job on day shift at my hospital. My dream job is to be a CRNA. I did not feel ready to work in an ICU after nursing school and decided to work on a medical surgical unit (I had already been working there as a tech). It is a requirement to have ICU experience before applying to CRNA school. I am so torn on what to do. I enjoy my job now, but there are ICU openings for night shift at my hospital. Do I stay on my unit now to get more experience, or go for it and transfer to nights in ICU? I am so worried about adjusting to nights and a new unit. 

Specializes in tele, ICU, CVICU.

When I transferred to ICU after telemetry, I had quite a few weeks orientation on dayshift, just because it was ICU.  That should give you time to adjust a little more to the idea of night shift.   I'd say go for it, since you've got one year under your belt, but ultimately it has to be your decision.  I know years ago when I was looking into CRNA school, it was more competitive than getting into veterinary school (my best gal pal is a vet now) so bear that in mind as well.  I know waiting lists were up to two years and that was about 15 years ago.  Best of luck whatever you decide to do.  

Specializes in PICU.

Depends on the hospital.  You may need two years experience. SInce you are still a new nurse with only one year experience.  Look at the requirements.  You may want to wait another year just to get your nursing skills up as well.


but there are ICU openings for night shift at my hospital

If you're torn or not sure you want to make the move now, keep in mind there will be more. These days this isn't any kind of once-in-a -career opportunity. 😉

Specializes in orthopedic/trauma, Informatics, diabetes.

I personally would wait for a day shift job in the ICU. Nights and days are very different. I know that we have a group of newish RNs that work nights and they did not get enough experience with day shift to understand what to do. There are some gaps. I wouldn't want to go to a new specialty on nights. I want more people around to help. 

Do you have different types of ICU units? We have neuro, medicine, cards, trauma, plus the peds ICUs. As an ortho/trauma RN, I would maybe consider the trauma ICU, but never neuro or cards. 

I promise you will appreciate waiting, getting more experience and then getting the true dream position you want. 

I thought about doing CRNA. I used to be a vet tech and ran anesthesia for horses. To me, anesthesia is like L&D, when it's good, it's boring, but when it goes bad, it can go VERY bad. I chickened out LOL. 

Good Luck!!

Specializes in Nurse Anesthetist, CRNA.

Hi Holly! 

Some strong advice in this thread! We always encourage nurses to follow their dreams if CRNA is it- but it may help you to do a bit of research first. 

Do you have any CRNA programs you're interested in? 

It could make a big difference in your decision if the programs you're interested in require 1 year or 2 year minimum ICU experience before applying. 

As another poster mentioned, programs are incredibly competitive- if you can get an idea of the nature of the programs you're interested in (Open Houses would be a GREAT way to do this!) it could also help you to determine. It may be worth it to wait for day shift since nights can be tough and you've mentioned being worried about it.

BUT if you'd rather start getting that ICU experience knowing it will help you move towards CRNA then that's something to add to your "Why" which will help you get through the frustrating times 😉

Also factor in your age- some folks go for CRNA as a 2nd career, and may want to start that ICU "timer" asap.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is, it's YOUR journey. Trust in yourself and the timing. 

I LOVE what one comment above said-- "these days, there isn't any just once-in-a-lifetime opportunity". 

You can do this! We're rooting for you. 

PS If it helps, you can grab a free copy of some resources we offer: 

 Free Resource- 8 Steps to Becoming a CRNA: https://www.cspaedu.com/planning
 Free Resource- The Most Affordable CRNA Schools: https://www.cspaedu.com/affordable

Cheers to your future!! 

+ Add a Comment