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Med/Surg to ICU - Need Advice

MICU   (510 Views 4 Comments)
by howdyall howdyall (New Member) New Member Nurse

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I am hoping to get some advice, even though I am aware that there are some posts, like this on Allnurses. With one year of medical-surgical experience, how does one get into the ICU? Every ICU in my area wants experience in the ICU. The residencies in my area will only take new grads (with ICU as their senior practicum, by the way). Fellowships primarily want ICU experience. How do I get into ICU? I know that there are nurses out there that have made the transition from med-surg to ICU, so I know it is certainly possible. I also know that there are hospitals not too far from where I live that are using travel nurses, due to not having adequate staffing. I'm looking for advice on where to apply, how to apply, and if there is anything else I can do to increase my chances of being an ICU nurse.

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 5,630 Posts; 45,122 Profile Views

Get involved in councils and experience as a charge nurse. Attend the meetings, be social and build networks with the nurses and managers of the ICU departments. Build rapport. Let them know you would love to get into the ICU and find out whether they would be open to hiring you as an internal transfer. Networking is the best way to make the crossover. Get to know the nurses and the managers. Make a good impression. When you give or get report from the ICU, be someone they would enjoy working with. Dot your I's and cross your T's. Build the reputation of being a conscientious nurse, so that when you apply, the association is a good one. Look for fellowships. My hospital has fellowships for NICU, ICU, ED and L&D for nurses who are experienced and want to switch specialties. They happen once or twice a year and we have so many internal candidates interested that it rarely gets posted for outside applicants.

Good luck!

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Jmira.BSN.RN has 5 years experience.

353 Posts; 9,928 Profile Views

it might depend on your area, but in many places a PCU/Stepdown/DSU unit is a great stepping stone into the ICU. The patients are mid level and you will get to experience things like drips/vents/Q4 assessments/etc more acute patient load than med surg. a couple years there should get you into ICU and you will be much better prepared. Good luck

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CowboyMedic has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Medical-Surgical-Neuro ICU.

391 Posts; 10,018 Profile Views

On 8/7/2019 at 12:57 PM, Jmira.BSN.RN said:

it might depend on your area, but in many places a PCU/Stepdown/DSU unit is a great stepping stone into the ICU. The patients are mid level and you will get to experience things like drips/vents/Q4 assessments/etc more acute patient load than med surg. a couple years there should get you into ICU and you will be much better prepared. Good luck

This right here. I started on our Step Down unit right out of school and moved to our Med-Surg ICU in about 11 months. Sometimes SDU and ICU are ran by the same managers so they see how you work and if you are a good fit for the unit.

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