PICU experience

Specialties CRNA


I am a senior getting my BSN and hoping to work in the PICU with future goals to work as a CRNA. What are your thoughts on the PICU as my ICU experience?




410 Posts

Similar issues as NICU, vasopressors and swan ganz not common in the PICU.


104 Posts

Amy, it all depends on the PICU you are in and how often you take care of the Gtts and Vents. You can always float to SICU for the swan stuff. I worked ina PICU at a Level 1 Trauma center, but I have to say, although there were good nurses in that unit, the majority did not kow what to do with gtts etc.. and there was always an Intensivist on the floor. I personally would recommend working in an Adult ICU for a year, then go to PICU. I think your critical thinking will be much more advanced. (Please don't any PI nurses take offense) You may still get some good heads in PICU, but not as lmany. I was seeing larger kids and teenagers going to SICU or TBICU then coming to us, which made it more like a step-down in that term. On the other hand....No one else wants the little babies with CHI etc and you do learn a great deal in that babies are a whole new ball-game.

Again, It all depends onthe PICU and how agressive you are.

My 2 cents.:roll


54 Posts

I have worked both Adult ICU and most recently PICU, and I feel that both have something to add to your CRNA application. First, and foremost I would consult the program you are interested in. They often will let you know what "they" consider appropriate critical care experience. Second, level of care provided by the unit you are working on is crucial to your experience base.

All ICU's and PICU's are not created equally!!

I know several people who have worked several years in small rural ICU's who have been denied entry based on the low level of ICU acuity they maintain. PICU's apply equally to this standard. If you are working on a PICU that does hearts and manages drips frequently the experience can be quite preparatory for Anesthesia school.

Some Factors to consider in choosing a PICU:

1) The nature of the orientation. (how long, training: ACLS, PALS, Critical Care course, CCRN reimbursement, Continuing Education Reimbursement. What is the nurse turnover rate/experience level. i.e new grad Vs. exp nurse.

2) Know the Unit: How many beds, Is it a teaching facility?, Level one trauma facility? Is your PICU part of a dedicated childrens hospital? Typical acuity and unit census?, Do you float to Adult ICU, NICU etc. Age range of patients and Adult ICU borders etc.

I will gladly elaborate on any of these areas, but trust me each plays a major role in determining your overall PICU experience. Bottom line, it may seem greedy, but I prefer ambitious: Seek out all avenues of higher learning.

At least initially you are a product of your experience--Get tons of it! Work overtime, Float, Volunteer, Shadow, use your CE money usefully. I hope this helps and please write if I can be of any further assistance. Oh yes, and I have applied to anesthesia school, interviewed and should be hearing in the next few days. Good luck



14 Posts

I worked many years in PICU (Level I trauma, hearts, specialty surgery). Now in CRNA school. Some programs would not consider PICU experience at all. You will need to check out each program you are interesed in. I am finding I am very well prepared with my experience. Other than adult MI which was not difficult to learn I had much more varied knowledge base. I think it is that PICU sees everything from renal, to pulm, to neuro, to ENT, to metabolic, to ... good luck in your pursuits.


32 Posts

:cool: the best reply was contacting schools interested in. Just beeen around the block with the interviewing process and they are asking alot of questions about your clinical experiences PICU may not give you a well rounded experience in invasive lines, waveforms, gtts. Have over 15 yrs in cardiothoracic and during the interview process, that was mentioned as a great asset. Remember, the competition is stiff, need to make yourself shine. Best of luck!!!
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