Is working in the ICU the ultimate nursing job? I need to know!

  1. So I will be interviewing in a 30 bed Med-Surg ICU today. I would like feedback from you ICU nurses. So what is the "hype" with working in the ICU? Is it the ultimate nursing job? Why does it seem like most new nurses strive to be an ICU nurse? Is it just for CRNA school or for the complexity of the patients? Where does one go after they leave the ICU--is everything else after that a "step down" if you don't pursue your Master's? I am curious because the ICU I will be interviewing in is about 55 min drive from where I live. If hired I will be in orientation for 6 months and go through the ECCO course. My background is in HH (1.5 years) and I want to transition to a hospital setting. I would love the challenge of working in an ICU environment. I guess I am torn on whether or not an ICU position is worth an hour's drive to and from 3x/week and the 24 month commitment (req'd for newbies at this particular hospital) The hospitals closest to me are not recruiting for the ICU right now. Last week I interviewed on a pulmonary progressive (med-surg) floor that can accomodate up to 6 ventilated patients. The nurse manager said a lot of nurses leave this floor to go to the ICU. I have trach/vent experience from home health but no hospital experience at all. I just feel like it would be stupid of me to give up the opportunity to start in an ICU because I would love to work there someday. Would love some feedback from you ICU nurses. Thanks!
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  2. Visit Spoiled1 profile page

    About Spoiled1

    Joined: Apr '04; Posts: 462; Likes: 70
    RN
    Specialty: Step-down ICU

    5 Comments

  3. by   sunnycalifRN
    Ultimate nursing job? ICU? I don't think so. It's an exciting job at times . . . working with critically ill patients . . . titrating multiples drips . . . monitoring many different parameters. But, I'm not sure what "hype" you're referring to . . . many ER, med-surg, PACU, cath lab, endoscopy suite RN's are quite happy in their particular units and have no desire to work in ICU. Different strokes for different folks.
  4. by   edogs334
    I think areas like ER and critical care get hyped up in nursing school because people think of them as glamorous, high-profile action areas that present a unique challenge. And there's some truth to that notion (sans the glamor- see what they think after cleaning up the blowout of a patient on lactulose who hasn't had a bowel movement for the past 36 hours- until 6:30am on their shift ). In a way, nurses in these areas have a specialized knowledge and skill base that allows them to take care of patients that the general floors aren't equipped to handle. Hence, I think critical care nurses are an elite group in the sense that they take care of patients who are beyond the scope of practice of nurses on med/surg units. Keep in mind, though, that just because you're not working in critical care doesn't mean your career goals or achievements are at a lower level. When one of my professors gave my nursing school class a seminar on career planning, she emphasized that "critical care's not for everyone." So the ICU isn't the pinnacle of everyone's nursing career- what your career goals are really depend on what area of nursing you're drawn to. Even many ICU nurses go on to achieve various academic and career accomplishments beyond their current position- because a lot of RNs don't consider bedside ICU nursing their ultimate career goal.
  5. by   Spoiled1
    Quote from edogs334
    I think areas like ER and critical care get hyped up in nursing school because people think of them as glamorous, high-profile action areas that present a unique challenge. And there's some truth to that notion (sans the glamor- see what they think after cleaning up the blowout of a patient on lactulose who hasn't had a bowel movement for the past 36 hours- until 6:30am on their shift ). In a way, nurses in these areas have a specialized knowledge and skill base that allows them to take care of patients that the general floors aren't equipped to handle. Hence, I think critical care nurses are an elite group in the sense that they take care of patients who are beyond the scope of practice of nurses on med/surg units. Keep in mind, though, that just because you're not working in critical care doesn't mean your career goals or achievements are at a lower level. When one of my professors gave my nursing school class a seminar on career planning, she emphasized that "critical care's not for everyone." So the ICU isn't the pinnacle of everyone's nursing career- what your career goals are really depend on what area of nursing you're drawn to. Even many ICU nurses go on to achieve various academic and career accomplishments beyond their current position- because a lot of RNs don't consider bedside ICU nursing their ultimate career goal.
    Thanks for your insight. I've decided to take the transitional ICU job because of the opportunity to work with sicker/ more challenging patients and the opportunity to learn new skills. I also feel that will be a great career move for me. I'm excited and scared!!!
  6. by   aCRNAhopeful
    Whats a Transitional ICU?
  7. by   Spoiled1
    Quote from aCRNAhopeful
    Whats a Transitional ICU?
    In this particular hospital it's a 30-bed step-down unit to the main ICU.

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