Getting an ICU Position out of School??

  1. All:

    I am just starting nursing school this fall, and am wondering.

    How hard is it to get a job in the ICU once I graduate with ASN
    and pass the NYCLEX RN exam?

    Any special requirements? Courses?


    John Coxey
  2. Visit SirJohnny profile page

    About SirJohnny, BSN, LPN

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 399; Likes: 125
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics


  3. by   nimbex
    this depends upon the state that you are applying and how bad the nursing shortage is. I'm in NC and we hire new grads..... never in NY, but it's been 6 years since I've practiced there, simply due to greater supply of experienced nurse to the demand.

    having oriented both new and experienced nurses (I mean with med surg, training, not ICU). I can tell you, you can succeed as both, providing that you choose a facility that will provide a minimal 12 weeks orientation, preferably with the same preceptor to learn your strengths and build upon them.

    As with any vocation, the will to succeed will provide those that have it with success... and with no other training this will mean a very tough course for you with much reading at home to learn very difficult concepts and reasearch each new diagnosis and med. so you don't become task oriented.

    I wish you well in your choice, but warn you, that there is no where else to send your crashing patient... tag... you're it.... can't start an IV, NGT, foley, titrate meds, pick up on minute changes that mean life and death......

    With No experience you NEED a faciliy to support you in your growth and not give you empty promises and set up you and your patients for failure.
  4. by   SirJohnny

    The ICU charge nurse that I talked to at St. Joseph's said they have a 3 to 6 month orientation process for nurses new to the ICU.

    Said you need to take additional courses, and of course lots more studying. But, it's an area of nursing that I want to pursue and am interested in.

    My problem is juggling full-time computer career with going to school up in NY (have to fly from Evansville, IN every other weekend). That being said, I am planning on taking Anatomy & Physiology locally and then starting nursing school in June 2004.

    This was only school in USA that I found that had weekend clinicals. And even those start at 4PM Friday afternoons - so have to take a day of vacation to leave Thur night and fly on up to NY.

    I used to fly Denver to Philly every weekend, so the flying part isn't too bad. It's the juggling of work, vacation-time, study time, and travel itself that gets to be a chore. But, it's what I want to do --- so I say go for it.


    John Coxey
  5. by   TracyB,RN
    Damn, Jon, you are one dedicated student, LOL..
    Here in IL lots of places hire new grads for ICU.
    Good luck
  6. by   SandyB
    In California too. Seen lots of new grads go to ICU. Gotta get your ACLS and it's a good idea to take a critical care class first-although the hospital should give you's hard stuff and even a CEU couse on the subject sure helps to help all the info stick!
  7. by   JennieJenRN
    I work in MI I was a new grad in Dec. got a job in the critical care ICU as a new grad and took my boards while working. It was a 12 week orientation. more if you needed it. This is at a big teaching hospita and they love new grads.
  8. by   baseline
    Ok, I'll be the one with the reality check!

    I strongly encourage ALL new grads to do a minimum of one year on a good med-surg floor. You will learn skills there that a year of orientation in critical care can't teach you.......assessment skills, how to deal with many different crisis (large and small) at the same time, learn to develop good interpersonal relationships with team members and families. Oh my...the list is long.

    I am not trying to discourage you, but I ask you to please consider this as part of your skills training that is invaluble.
  9. by   Jenny P
    Well, I don't know if it is necessary to do a year of Med/Surg (which is becoming it's own specialty in its' own right); but I'd strongly recommend anyone to spend at least a year on a tele unit before working in an ICU for both the units' sake and also for your sake.

    It costs a unit about $60,000 to orient a nurse to ICU for the first year if they do it right. That includes the orientee and the preceptor wages, plus all of the various education. It is a waste of resources and also a waste of time for the nurse if the nurse decides that nursing isn't what they really want to do.

    I have worked with new grads in ICU before who feel trapped because they feel there is no place to go after ICU if they don't care for ICU (due to bad orientations or whatever). ICU is often considered the "peak experience" for some nurses; it seems to be the pinnacle that these certain nurses strive for. It is sad to see these nurses totally leave nursing instead of changing their focus or field of nursing. By being exposed to med/surg or tele or some other type of nursing before they enter the ICU environment, these nurses seem to stay in some other area of nursing more often than those who go directly into the ICU units straight out of school.

    Of course, that is just my own observations....
    Last edit by Jenny P on Mar 20, '03
  10. by   USA987

    Just wanted to wish you good luck. I graduate in June and just accepted a position in ICU/Tele. The Tele beds are in the ICU and the nurse manager said she has had several new grads start successfully by first working the Tele side. They also offer a 3-6 month orientation--with an average of 4 months.

    Best wishes
  11. by   healingtouchRN
    I completed my BSN in 1989 & went straight to CCU. I was very fortuate to be the only new grad for 2 years in that dept & took advantage of being the "baby" for all of those well versed nurses who poured out there love & shared their skills with me, & put me in my place when I was floundering!! (several have passed on & God rest their souls, I miss them). I spent 7 years in CCU & almost 7 in the ER. Am now back in CCU as charge nurse & also have private practice (Part time) & teach (part time). It can be done, but keep in mind the constant education that come with such a responsibility of working in the unit, the step down depts want your advise of patients, the families expect you to give them information they can understand & the doctors, NP's & PA's expect a higher standard from you. You can do it!!!
  12. by   inna
    I just started working in Telemetry/ICU Stepdown Unit last month, I worked in Surgical Unit (6 mos.) prior to that. I really wanted to be an ICU nurse. I know some hospitals that are willing to train new grads. Some advised me it'll be better for me to have Telemetry exposure first. Others told me to try applying right away in ICU. Could somebody advise me.... Should I take my time in Telemetry Unit or start applying now for a position in ICU. Do you think with the limited nursing experience I had I'll be able to cope up in ICU?
    Last edit by inna on May 26, '03
  13. by   healingtouchRN
    I have trained many new grads in my CCU. I mentored them over many months. I have also mentored nurses coming from other areas to CCU & they have done well too. Lots of hard work on both parts. Go ahead & apply!!!! I also trained new grads in an ER. It was a challenge when short staffed... that is where priority comes in handy!!!! Find a good mentor or two. I had three when I was straight out of school in CCU (odd, two have crossed over & one is a full time mom of 5 now!) but all taught me how to prioritize, organize, plan & be FLEXIBLE!!! :kiss
  14. by   CougRN
    Absolutely go for it. If this is what you want you can do it. I graduated a year ago and went directly into the ICU. I did however work during school as a tech in a step-down unit. I also did a 6 week preceptorship in the ICU while in school. I took ACLS before I graduated and a lab values class.

    Since getting accepted into the ICU I had to work really hard. I took an ICU class, I took balloon-pump, hemodynamics, 12-lead, and critical care pharmacology all in the last year. But if the ICU is what you want you can do it and it is way worth it. I would never, ever, work on a med-surg floor. It's just not for me.

    Best of luck.