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Possible Job in the ICU as a NEW GRAD

Hello, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on approaching the director of an ICU about hiring me as a NEW GRAD. I did a CAPSTONE on this floor and know a lot of the nurses that will give me a great reference, which showed them that I was more than capable of becoming a ICU nurse...eventually with some orientation. Above all, I showed them that I had the capability by putting in a 110% during the shift and there after. The department had a special meeting about possibly hiring a NEW GRAD into the unit, and now I think it is my time to contact the director and let them know that I am interested in a job. Just asking for some advice on my approach, I know some people think it is not good to get hired into a specialty area right out of school, but to the nurses that did please respond. Thanks.


Has 9 years experience. Specializes in CVICU.

I did that!...and I only stayed about 8 months. When I took the job, I had felt confident because I had done very well in school and had been working as a CNA, and then LPN in LTC/Vent unit while in school. I knew I wanted to work in the ICU all through school. Anyways, it was just waaay too much. I left voluntarily and went to another hospital. I was doing "ok" in the unit, but was so sick to my stomach with stress every night. When I went to the other hospital, I started out in the telemetry area for about a year and a half, then I went to ICU again. The second time around was much much better for me because I was alot more comfortable in the basic skills that you need to have (time management, assessments, critical thinking, med administration, etc.)

That being said, only you can make your decision. Lots of people advised me not to take that CCU position right out of school, but I didn't listen. I do believe the best way to start out is to do at least about a yr in a Telemetry unit (ex: the step down of the unit you would eventually like to move to) and then move to the ICU.

If you choose to take the ICU gig right out of school, hopefully you will get a very long orientation and have a better time than I did. Good Luck!


I'm thinking of going straight into ICU (I'm a new grad). I have a couple of questions for you. How long was your orientation period? Was the ICU position overwhelming in the sense that you had way too much to do (time management issues) or lack of knowledge/experience with the pt type?


Has 9 years experience. Specializes in CVICU.

Hi there! Congrats on graduating from Nursing School! :grad:

My first ICU job right out of school didn't go well for a think a few different reasons. #1 I didn't have a very good preceptor and she focused more on what I didn't know that actually teaching me anything. #2 I was still learning the basics of nursing along with what to do in emergent/critical situations. #3 I wasn't really all that comfortable talking with Doctors about things because I wasn't that confident in myself and didn't want them to think I was stupid.

That being said I don't want to discourage you from working in an ICU. Lots of people go straight from school to an ICU position. I'm not saying it can't be done. But for me, it was definitely easier the second time around when I had a chance to work on a tele floor for about a yr and a half. Once I got the basics of nursing down, I absorbed things easier and everything made more sense to me.

No matter what floor you decide to start out on, you will learn alot more than you ever did in school. Just remember you will make mistakes...crap happens, learn from them and move on. And every nurse was new once, although some do forget that.

Keep me posted and let me know if you have any more questions :)

Hi! Congrats again on your recent graduation. I started in ICU as a new grad on the night shift four years ago. I completed a critical care internship my senior year as well as a one to one clinical experience for over 200 hours. I will tell you that my first year I was very stressed out and dreaded going to work. I thought I had made a mistake at times even though I knew I wanted to be in critical care. I will tell you that now, four years later, I can't imagine working any where else, even on my bad days. I was one of the only new grads ever hired into the department at that time, & getting in was tough. The director of my Dept knew I had done internships, when I saw the job posted I asked her if she would consider hiring a new grad, her response was if they found the right person they would consider it. After that I did not personally approach her again, I simply applied & interviewed. I will tell you that in my organization attitude & willingness to work hard & learn go farther than actual technical skills at times. I hope this is helpful in some way to you.

Make sure you have a good training program, it is a lot different being a Nursing student, to the actual nurse taking care of the patient with the full responsibilities of the patient. There is a million things to learn and Nursing school does not teach you real life situations.


Specializes in ICU.

Hi, I just wanted to say that I am a new grad and completed my preceptorship in ICU, I got hired onto the ICU unit, and have been working there since May of this year. When I got hired I started a critical care program (which helps A LOT), and I have a preceptor till middle of September. After September I will be required to be on my own, but they have advised me that I will start with chronic vents and then move to a fresh vent eventually when I am more comfortable. Also my nursing team is great, you are never alone and I always ask for help, it is better to ask rather than make an error or near miss.

You should definitely contact the director, let them know you were on the unit as a student; gather and prepare your references and resume and show them that you are willing to work hard and learn!

I love being an ICU nurse, it is really hard at times and I am learning so much every shift. I am lucky to have an amazing preceptor, nursing manager, and nursing team who are guiding me through learning my basic nursing skills as well as critical/emergent skills! You sound like you have great nurses on your unit too, go for it with confidence you can definitely do it!

Hey everyone. I was so excited when I found this thread because it's exactly what I'm going through. I start AUG 1 at my first nursing job in the ICU. I pushed and pushed my entire last year of school to make my name known in the ICU, and it worked out for me. As far as contacting the director went, I began by going up and "formally" introducing myself. I wanted to make sure that she associated my name with my face (because she had heard recommendations from both instructors and from other ICU staff). Make sure they know who you are. And don't quit. I can't even count how many people told me that you need 2 years of medical or surgical floor experience to work in the ICU, or that they didn't hire new grads. (Granted, this is all before I have started, and I hope that my experience is not a horrible one, but one that pushes me every day in the right direction). Having support from the current nurses is/will be huge, as well, and if you've been performing well and building a relationship with them during your clinical experience, it won't be as if you are a complete "newbie" walking out onto the floor. They've seen you working, and know what you're capable of.

That being said, my current task is looking for the best references for my continued learning. I know that I want to eventually take the CCRN exam when I get enough crit care hours, so I'm thinking of ordering one of the CCRN review books. Does anybody else have any suggestions for magazines? Such as AACN's Critical Care Nurse Magazine? Or others?


Specializes in Critical Care.

I started as a new graduate RN straight to the ICU after school. It was a very shocking but exciting experience in the the beginning, and I'm glad I made the decision to start my career there. It definitely helps if you have a good orientation process (mine was 6 months) and a supportive staff to help you along the way. When I was on orientation, my preceptor let me borrow Kathy White's- Fast Facts for Critical Care. I personally liked using this book as a reference when I was learning in the beginning. For continued learning, I am a member of the American Association of Critical Nurses (AACN). Every month you receive a journal magazine with tons of articles that I just read whenever I'm having my lunch break at work or eating breakfast. I also attended their critical care conference, which I highly recommend! They have all kinds of critical-care nursing topics taught by amazing RN speakers from different hospitals. I went with a bunch of co-workers and it was a great refresher-learning experience. I also bought the PASS CCRN book that I kept as a reference, but I never used it until I needed the CD to help study for my CCRN exam. And the easiest place to learn more information is from the senior RN staff and doctors at work. I always keep an open mind and willing to learn something new :)


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