Wow, it seems like you go through longer schooling-Here you can either obtain a degree for your RN through an ADN or BSN program. I'm finishing up my last semester of an ADN program, which consists of about a year of prerequisite courses (anatomy, micro, algebra, etc.) followed by a 2 year nursing program. The nursing program itself consists of 2 days of lecture/wk and one clinical/wk, rotating through all areas of the hospital (all schools differ in # of clinical/lecture hrs.) You do need your RN to work in the ICU (maybe other hospitals allow LPNs, I don't know), but because of the nursing shortage, most hospitals in this area will hire you right out of school. In the interim between graduation and sitting for state boards, you can work as a graduate nurse (GN)-functioning as an RN but under the direct supervision of another experienced RN. At my hospital there is a three month orientation into critical care for new grads and any nurse new to the ICU setting. My class has about 45 students, almost all of whom are going to try to go directly into specialty areas right out of school. The ICUs do hire students while still in school, but only to do vitals, basic pt care, draw labs, EKGs, etc. Hope this helps. Hope this helps!