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New Grad MedSurg to ICU


I am about to graduate from an ADN program. I already have a bachelors in another field.

I love critical care so much, I cannot even describe how much I love it. Due to a tight job market, I was unable to get an ICU internship position. I do have a job on a very busy, high acuity medical/surgical unit.

Do you think ICU managers still hire nurses with med surg experience? Or do you have to have tele/IMC exp? How many years should I work on the med/surg floor before requesting a transfer to the ICU floor?

Also, should I get my BSN, despite having a bachelors already? My eventual goal is to get an MSN, and become a critical care nurse practitioner. Should I get the BSN via one of the online fast track programs, then work on the MSN? I have to have 2 full time years of exp to even apply for the nurse practitioner program anyway.

Thanks in advance for any advice! :)

turnforthenurse, MSN, NP

Specializes in ER, progressive care. Has 7 years experience.

A lot of ICU's prefer to hire nurses with solid ICU experience unless you are a new grad and can get an internship, but it still isn't impossible. I worked with an RN who had only med-surg experience and was able to get a job in the MICU and now she is going to ER. Places that offer internships may also offer fellowships which is like an internship, but for nurses with experience. I do not have solid ICU experience but I am trying to get into a fellowship this December.

A bachelor's in another field (not nursing) does not translate into a BSN degree. A lot of employers are requesting their new hires to be BSN-prepared nurses or have currently enrolled in a BSN program. You could do a couple of things - you could get your ADN and then enroll in a fast-track (accelerated) BSN program. Those programs usually require a BS in an unrelated field, which you have. Then you go do a BSN to MSN track. Or, since you already have a BS in an unrelated field, you might be able to do an RN to MSN track (go straight for your MSN) but not every school offers that option.

I remember reading that by 2015, nurse practitioners will require a DNP (doctorate of nursing practice). My PCP happens to be an FNP and she said if I decide to go to NP school and finish by 2015, I could be "grandfathered" in but to be honest, I'm not 100% sure.

I too have a bachelors in another field. I am currently getting my RN and then immediately getting my MSN instead of getting my BSN. As for the ICU question, I have no advice but would love to hear some. I also would love to work on an ICU floor, but am worried that as a new grad I won't have the oppurtunity.

Lennonninja, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in MICU - CCRN, IR, Vascular Surgery. Has 9 years experience.

I've been working Med Surg for a year now, and critical care has been my goal since day 1. I'm worried that having to start in Med Surg has made it impossible to ever get to critical care. I'm trying to at least move up to PCU this year so I'm trying to think of what to do to make myself a more likely candidate. I've passed our Basic Rhythm course, and got my ACLS certification. I've been studying icufaqs. I'm starting an RN-BSN program in the fall. Any suggestions about how to get out of Med Surg? I feel trapped and like I'll never accomplish my critical care goals since I got stuck starting in Med Surg :(

What makes you worried that you won't get into critical care? I thought med/surg experience was required at a lot of hospitals prior to entry into the critical care areas. Has this changed?

Lennonninja, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in MICU - CCRN, IR, Vascular Surgery. Has 9 years experience.

Every time I see people on here saying that their ICU prefers new grads, it makes me worry more and more. And since my hospital's med surg units are so ridicuously understaffed, I doubt any of us we be allowed to transfer out even if we could get an interview as a non-new grad hoping to go to critical care. Does that make sense? Sorry, just worked all night long!