Sicu in a hospital without a trauma center


Hi! I've been a float nurse for a year and have loved floating to majory surgery and the ER. I want to be a sicu nurse because I love trauma patients as well as surgical patients. I have one offer for a sicu in a major urban hospital but they do not have a trauma center. Do they still get trauma patients in their sicu? Should I try to work at a hospital with a trauma center instead? What would the patient population be in a sicu without a trauma center designation?

Thank you!


1,480 Posts

Non-trauma surgical patients can be every bit as challenging as trauma patients. If a post surgical patient is sick enough to be in the ICU (maybe 1-10% of surgical patients) he is pretty sick. Trauma patients in surgical ICU's , by and large, are otherwise youngish healthy people. If you want higher acuity, stick to a big city, non-trauma SICU IMO...

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

My first SICU had a lot of liver, heart, and lung transplants, lots of neurosurgeries including spontaneous ICH's and tumor resections, major abdominal surgeries, various cardiothoracic procedures including LVAD placements.


1,591 Posts

Most places with a decent trauma center have a designated trauma icu.

I like getting the surgical icu patients sometimes. My favorite are the open belly patients.

Trauma patients are usually pretty straight forward. Just a fun fact. 85% of trauma patients are falls. Usually the elderly who break a few ribs. Trauma is not all gun shot wounds and car wrecks.

Specializes in SICU,CTICU. Has 9 years experience.

I agree with the above. Also a lot of SICU have neuro ICU pts which I love but may not be your cup of tea and trauma pts often become neuro pts depending on their injury. You would have to interview and see what their pt population is like and then decide.

FurBabyMom, MSN, RN

1 Article; 814 Posts

Has 8 years experience.

So...there can be really sick and complex patients in hospitals that aren't a trauma center or are not a level 1 trauma center. It is possible that the hospital does not pursue trauma center designation as that bestows additional regulations (services offered, access to services, access to specific resources, etc).

I work in a trauma center that offers some of the most advanced services across the board, especially compared to the rural hospitals near us. We have "separate" ICUs. An honest effort is made to place patients in the "most appropriate" unit bed. That doesn't happen always (sometimes at all). In general, all ICU beds are seen as ICU beds.

I have to agree with others - trauma is not necessarily (in all geographical areas) the knife and gun club most people believe it to be. We get our share of the knife and gun club (in our case it's often flown in as our immediate area isn't "known" as the K&GC). But we get far more MVCs (or other moving entity accidents - boats, mopeds, etc), falls, near drownings, and in our case because we are a burn center - burns. I will say, having worked neuro in a trauma center for years...just about anything can be used to inflict pain and suffering on someone else. There's also a lot of abuse.