Hello, I eventually want to apply to CRNA programs and I’m looking for some advice about if/when I should transfer ICUs.
As a new grad I started in a medical progressive care unit, where I worked for 14 months. After that I transferred to a neuroscience ICU in April 2019 and I’ve been there since. I’ve had lots of experience with pre-op/post-op craniotomies, EVDs, seizures, and medical/surgical overflow. We currently don’t have anyone who can do clot retrievals, so we have to send out all strokes who need thrombectomies. We are also not a trauma center so unfortunately I have not had experience with traumatic neurological issues either.
I enjoy my current job, however I’m concerned I’m not getting the experience I need to prepare for CRNA school. The majority of my patients are stable, extubated, not on any drips, and just require frequent neuro assessments. Most shifts, I honestly feel like I’m in a step-down unit with extra charting. This has been an awesome first ICU job, especially because all the intensivists, mid-levels, and senior nurses are super helpful and willing to teach, but I’m starting to worry that I’m just not getting sick enough patients to learn from.
Are my concerns/reasons for wanting to leave valid? I feel terrible for wanting to leave this unit because I love the management and my coworkers. My unit director is super approachable and supportive, but that somehow makes me feel even guiltier.
And when would be the most appropriate time to start applying to other ICUs? I’m definitely not going to start looking before the 1 year mark at my current job, but I’d really like to start applying to CRNA schools sometime between the next 1-3 years (depending on how ready I feel) so I don’t want to piddle around too long either. I just started studying for CCRN, so I’m thinking about applying to new jobs after I take the test.
And finally, what sorts of ICUs would give me the experience I’m looking for? I’m thinking about SICU, MSICU, and trauma. I’m also curious about trauma-burn and transplant, but I’d have to learn more about those. And I’ve also been back and forth about cardiac because I’ve heard some bad things about the demeanor of CTICUs, but I feel like I would get invaluable experience there. Ideally, I’d like to be in a high-acuity ICU where I’m getting exposure to complex assignments and high-stress situations.
Thanks for reading! Any and all advice is much appreciated!