On to bigger and better things.

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in Med surg..

So basically "I can't deal anymore" with my job on a med surg unit any longer.

I have a years experience which is what is required in my area for ED/ICU application..

I obviously find it nerve racking to go into a new workplace with new coworkers I don't know but at this point I need a change, badly. I am BURNT out just after a year from the work I have been doing.... I LOVE my coworkers so much (I wish I could take them with me.) I just need excitement and new things......

What were your biggest challenges from moving from med surg to ED or ICU?

What advice would you give me?

What were the biggest changes your noticed moving to ED/ICU area after working med surg?

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health.


Wish I could answer your question but I've never worked either ICU or ED.

I would think though... your patients in ICU are going to be much

more complex and sicker. Your going to have to be trained and learn

how to manage various drips, manage vents, different types of

vascular access besides your average peripheral IV, or PICC line.

What exactly burns you out about Med Surge?

ED is going to simply be faster paced, lots of codes...

Specializes in NICU.

I haven't worked in ER but I've been floated there...basically it's as crazy as the floor, even crazier...with sicker patients. So if you're burnt out from the floor...ER may not be any better. ICU is like controlled chaos....things can go sour quicky - it's mentally exhausting.

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVICU.

ICUs have a lot of egos and type A personalities. You need to be able to hold your own, because the environment is stressful. Patients are sick, and became very complex. I went from being charge and preceptor on Med/Surg/Tele to being a low man of the totem pole back on orientation when I transferred, so it definitely changes your perspective a bit. The best advice I can have is to just become a sponge. Ask questions, put yourself in situations where you will learn. Your ICU should give you the sickest patients on orientation, but if you aren't seeing them or are seeing the same thing, ask for the sickest/something different. Make yourself overwhelmed and uncomfortable when you have a preceptor, because you will appreciate it when you're on your own and **** is hitting the fan. You have a few years of Med/Surg, so you will definitely excel at the time management and basic care for these patients, you just need to focus on the critical care aspect.

A big thing I learned when I went to ICU is that I will never go back to a floor again. I don't even think I could prioritize that much care anymore for that many patients!

ED and ICU both have their benefits and drawbacks. ED is hectic, you never have a good picture of what's going on, and it's very task heavy. ICU is consistently critical, and things are more controlled because we can see trends and are able to anticipate things better because we have more information since the patient has been admitted for a bit. One thing I stupidly thought when I left Med/Surg was that I would be getting away from the chronics, but man was I wrong. You still see your chronic patients, vented for months, unable to wean, too stable for ICU but too sick for the floor, and you just can't get rid of them. We've had patients sit on CRRT for 1.5 months which gets old after a while.

Hope this may help a bit!

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

It's a huge learning curve. I went from med-surg to the ED. I'm typing on my phone now but I will formulate a response when I get home

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I would say that my biggest challenge was to be able to quickly shift priorities to attend to an emergent situation and to be less task oriented. I really learned to speed up quickly. I also learned not to spend too much time talking to patients in order to be ready for what came next. I also became much better at placing IVs.

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

When I started working in the ED I started feeling like I made a difference as a nurse because I was using many of my skills often. Saving lives puts things into perspective. There is also less of a customer service focus in the ED than on the floors because well is the place for emergences...we don't have time for your 5 star hotel requests. ED nurses are a tight group of people and depending on where you work, you may find that you work with some very strong personalities. There is also generally a very good working relationship between the nurses and doctors. Many times the nurses will have nicknames for the doctors and/or be on a first name basis.

Specializes in Med surg..

I am not burnt out as a nurse I am burnt out from the patients expecting 5 start hotel service, being on the bell 24/7 and NOT EVEN BEING "that ill" to be honest. I need some excitement like I said, emergent situations, codes, trauma, SOMETHING GOOD.... My patients are all geriatric, confused, incontinent, and this and that, plus they are on the unit for months for "placement issues...." That in its self can be very daunting and annoying to deal with. Not to mention my unit is often short staffed which is another frustration.... I feel like I am working in a nursing home at times which is NOT what I signed up for NO OFFENSE. Thank you all above for giving heads up and pointers, it definitely was helpful. I will have an issue with being less task oriented which I already know because I am very task oriented on the med surg floor. I know I will have a lot to learn BUT IT IS SOOO WORTH IT. I need to learn and get more experience and continue to grow as a nurse!

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