New nurses in ICU

Specialties MICU


I'm curious to hear what experienced ICU nurses think about a GN starting out in ICU. I'll graduate in 3 mo. and would love to go right to critical care nursing. The hospital I'm at commonly hires new nurses right into the unit and ER with a 3 mo. orientation. I've worked as a nurse intern on a general medical floor for the past year, and just don't feel like I want to stay there. Please give me input! Thanks!


Call me old-fashioned,but I think most nurses benefit from at least six months of some sort of med-surge nursing when they are fresh out of school. Here are my reasons. First,you learn organization. You also learn how to assess your patient without a lot of fancy equipment. You also build self confidence when dealing with doctors. There is so much to learn when you graduate from nursing school. School teaches you the skills you need but working with patients independently

is where the real learning begins. ICU nursing builds on the basic skills you aquire through experience. Not to say that a new grad can't make it in ICU. The reason most units are allowing new grads in is the nursing shortage. I have tried to train new or very inexperienced nurses in intensive care and it can be difficult. There are certainly exceptional nurses who will excell where ever they find themselves working. Good luck!

Thanks for responding! I asked the same question on the general nursing discussion page, and got a lot of pros and cons either way--for me, I do think I'll need that first 6 mo to a year on med-surg. As one of the posters there said, you don't try to be a race driver when you're first learning how to drive. A lot of recruiters encourage new grads to come to a specialty right out of school--and it sounds tempting,but I don't feel ready for it!

Hi I Just wanted to respond to your question because I just recently took a position in the ICU as a new grad and I love it. Granted I worked there for about 6 mo before i started as an RN, but everyone was very supportive. I had a 3 mo orientation with lots of extra class room/computer training that enhanced my orientation. I felt it was great and I am so happy that I chose that field (even though I would have loved any type of nsg that I entered).Many of the nurses had mentioned that 6 mo on a med surg floor was benefical (I had 2 weeks.) I am still learning lots-as i always will be, but if you ask alot of questions, have a resource/mentor, read/research what you dont know, and believe in self-care I think it can be done smoothly. Good Luck.

I am so amazed that things are so totaly different organized. I am a nurse in the Netherlands. I am in training now for ICU, that takes 1 year and a half. When you want to start this education/training, you have to be at least registered for one year. Do I understand that RN can work on ICU without any school, in the USA ?

How does education for RN looks like in USA. Here in the Netherlands you've got to go to school for five years, you also go intern for a couple of months each year. You are educated for four fields: general hospital, psyciatric hospital, metally handicaped home, and nursing people at home.

After all that after a year you can enter ICU training programe.

I am wondering how it is organized in USA.

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!

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