Preparing for externing in the MICU

  1. I just got the word from my boss, I've been selected to extern in the MICU this summer. During the interview, I told her that I didn't feel very proficient at doing nursing tasks like foleys, deep suctioning, starting IV's (never get the chance in school) but that I have a real interest in intensive care and I'd work hard to pick up what I can. I graduate this December and I have not had critical care but I do work as an aide in the MICU. The nurses let me do simple stuff like d/c IV's and foleys, along with the usual nurse aide stuff. I enjoy reading the MICU FAQ's; some of it I share and say now take a deep breath and make sure you are breathing through this. Those guys are good writers! I've learned some stuff too. Next month after school gets out for the summer, I'm enrolled in the ACLS class at another hospital just to get bare bones type stuff since my hospital's classes are full until fall. My question is what do you recommend for a good text on critical care that has rationals in it? Do you think I'm going about this the right way or do you have any other suggestions?
  2. Visit wishingmary profile page

    About wishingmary

    Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 86; Likes: 1
    staff nurse cardiac step-down, neurosurg step-down


  3. by   wishingmary
    I learned how to put in foleys, etc, in school, but never actually started an IV.
  4. by   ERNurse752
    I'm not sure of the actual title, but a good book I had in school and used for clinicals was by Swearingen and Keene (sp?).

    A good handbook is Fast Facts for Adult Critical can order it and preview it online at

    Also, if you go to and click on the bookstore icon, you can get access to a ton of references. They have a book called Core Curiculum for Critical Care which is good.

    When you extern this summer will you be doing actual nursing "stuff," taking patients, and learning critical care skills? That will help you learn a lot, and will help you gain confidence.

    Good luck
  5. by   wishingmary
    Thanks ER nurse for your referrals. I ended up ordering a pda and some medical software of basics like Davis Drug Guide, ICU toolbox, a lab program, a fluid and electrolyte program, and an RN book of Diseases. I also bought a book from my campus bookstore called ECGs Made Easy by Barbara Aehlert, RN to cram in the next two weeks before I cram for the ACLS toward the end of May. My focus right now is passing finals this Monday and Tuesday. Then I extern and work as an aide in the MICU and then finish my last semester in critical care before sitting for boards. I realize I'll have to work my fanny off but that's OK if it means I'll make it. If you were to ask me why I want to be a critical care nurse, I'd say because no where else can an intervention do so much. I just hope I don't stress out too much at first once I have the RN behind my name. Another nurse told me she started out on nights so she can learn as much as she could in a year's time before having to deal with all the interruptions (allied health) and family during the day. I think that sounds like a plan for me too. Again thanks.
  6. by   USA987
    The name of the book that ERNurse was referring to is "Manual of Critical Care Nursing" by P. Swearingen and J. Hicks Keen. It is an awesome resource.

    I interviewed for a med/surg job last month and when they asked about my qualifications I told them that I, of course, had BLS and was signed up for ACLS in May. At that point, the interviewer looked at me and said, "Are you interested in ICU"??? I start in the ICU on July 7th.

    So, I think you are taking the right steps by interning there and taking the ACLS class.

    Good luck to you!
  7. by   wishingmary
    Thanks for the support.