Moving from ICU to ER


I started a new job in the SICU in a hospital about 50 mins. from my house, night shift and I really like my job. But I fell asleep coming home not long ago and crossed traffic and went into a ditch, not hurt though. A very small sister hospital is right across the street from me and has 2 night shift positions available in the ER. I have applied and talked with the director and will have an interview next week. I would be able to walk to work and it will be nice to work that close to where I live and serve the people of the small community I live in. I will miss the other job but staying alive and not hurting anyone out weighs that. My question is for you that have moved from ICU to the ER what is the transition like? Was it hard? Any suggestion or advice? I know pregnant women and kids will be coming into the ER and I have no experience with either. Thanks for all your responses in advance.

Specializes in CT-ICU, ER, Surgical. Has 2 years experience.

I'm about to transition from the ER to the CTICU next week... I have the same questions!!!

Good luck to both of us!


297 Posts

Specializes in ED, ICU, Education. Has 7 years experience.

I went from an extremely busy ED to a 10 bed cardiac ICU about 2 years ago. I sometimes float back to the ED for a change in scenery. For one, it's much more difficult to turn your patients on a stretcher. Every medication, treatment, etc is STAT. So excellent time management is a must. You're not as close to the nurses in the ED as the turnaround is much higher. It's sometimes like highschool withthe drama and rumours though. I loved always having a physician available, and the adrenaline rush of a good trauma or cardiac arrest. Never a dull moment in the ED. You may also like the fact that there may not be a Medication Administration Computer that requires you to scan yourself, the med, and the patient's armband before giving a med. Makes things a heck of a lot easier and less time consuming.

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU. Has 19 years experience.


You will be focused on your assessments to target the problem. Deal, and send off home or somewhere else.

I loved it there. Just don't like when I am holding 4 critical patients...that's awful.

Specializes in Emergency, Psych. Has 8 years experience.

You will be focused on your assessments to target the problem. Deal, and send off home or somewhere else.

I loved it there. Just don't like when I am holding 4 critical patients...that's awful.

So true!. I also live about 25 minutes from my hospital and work nights. I call my hubbie on the way home from work and he talks to me almost the entire drive to keep me awake. If he can't I blast the radio, turn on the air conditioner full blast or keep the window down, and even pinch myself or give myself a light slap. It's really hard to fall asleep with ACDC blaring and your teeth chattering from being so cold. Have you talked to the hospital about putting you on days? Commuting with another night shifter from the same hospital?

I personally love the ER and most likely will never leave. We don't get alot of ICU nurses who stay in our ER. Some will rotate down if needed (they are float pool). Most don't like it. And yes, be prepared to have four criticals at once. Oh, and the ICU will hate you. Because you send dirty, naked and ungowned patients to them with only the stat medications done and 15 minutes before "the room is ready."



9 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 2 years experience.

I have just done the opposite myself. I have worked in a level one ER for the past 4 years and went to a level 2 hospital to work in a SICU for the experience needed for anesthesia school....two words...hate it! I have been in ICU for 3 months now not counting orientation and for me it just hasn't gotten any better, I am completely bored out of my mind and I have yet to take care of a pt any sicker than I took on in the ER, only difference is I have them for 12 hrs. With that said I will have to say that being in the ICU is making me a better nurse. My assessment skills are sharper and I am learning to pick up things on my pt's that you just usually don't catch in the ER. Being in the ICU has made me realize that my true passion is trauma and that anesthesia is not what I want to do anymore....NP all the way now! So after I get some more ICU experience under my belt I am going to make a bee line back to the ER (Home)!

Now to comment on the original post. You may really hate the ER, it definitely isn't for everybody. But you can only stand to become a more well rounded nurse because of it. Have you checked to see if you can stay on in your icu prn intill a day shift opens up? I hope that you find the ER enjoyable and if you don't atleast make the best of it intill something else opens up for you. Keep us posted!