Signed a contract for ICU, being put on IMC unit

Specialties Travel


Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele ICU/CCU.


I have signed a 13 week contract to work ICU at a Level I trauma Center. I am supposed to start next week and I just received the roster, which has me assigned to an IMC floor. I am concerned as I do not want to lose my ICU skills and be staffed on a unit I did not sign a contract to work on. I have no problem floating there when needed but I believe I should be stationed in an ICU if that's the contract I signed, correct? So far the response I have gotten back states that they were told that the IMC is a critical care unit with a 1:2-3 patient ratio. This is still not ICU. Do I have the right to back out of the contract? I know they already set up my extended stay housing, and I have had a drug screen and background screening completed. If the agency cannot hold up to what the contract says, do I have this option? I really wanted to work for them in the ICU, but am very stressed right now on what I should do.

Of course you have the right to back out of the contract. You can back out at anytime for any reason, as they can back out at anytime for any reason. If they booked you an extended stay, big deal, they can cancel it.

Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele ICU/CCU.

Thank you for responding. The latest is that they are now wanting me to speak with the clinical nurse liason so she can discuss with me what I will be doing. They have said nothing about changing me from IMC to ICU. If I back out, will I be liable to pay back what they've spent so far? Do you think this will make me look bad in the "travel nursing world"? I know recruiters know other recruiters from companies other than the one they work for. I don't want to give myself a bad name.

Specializes in Cath Lab.

If it is not what you want or are comfortable with back out. I guess you could be held liable for their expenses but only if you accept a different assignment with the same company. Other then that I would think they would have to sue you to get their expenses back. I think I would give the nurse liaison a chance though. In my mind the biggest thing I bring to the table as a traveler, besides my skills, is flexibility. You may like what you hear from the liaison and decide that this particular assignment will benefit your skill more then it would hurt them. I love traveling because I am constantly exposed to different things that I feel expand my skills. Besides I am sure you will not lose any skills in 13 weeks.

If you are that upset about it, have an attorney look at your contract.

When I traveled, I could not back out for any reason other that unsafe work issues.. or it would cost me a boat load of


How do you view the difference between 1:3 and 1:2 ? The IMC sounds just as intense

I have worked some hospitals that routinely give a third patient in the ICU.

If this a place you would llike to experience other than that, I would sit back and rethink the change in unit.

Good luck whatever you decide, keep us posted.

Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele ICU/CCU.

Thanks for the answer. You are right, I did work in an ICU where I was tripled 2 out of the 3 days I worked in the ICU. My biggest worry is that I will lose ICU skills that are not usually done in a progressive care or stepdown unit, (what I consider IMC). ICU is the only place we intubated patients, continuously titrated drips, etc.. I love recovering open hearts and dealing with SWANS, etc. If I am working in an IMC, I am assuming I will not be doing these things for 3 months. I want to keep up on those skills AND stay marketable as an ICU travel RN.

Specializes in ER.

I think it boils down to how much do you need a job right now. You are not going to lose any skills in 13 weeks. I took 4 months off with the birth of each child, and I did not lose any skills. If your contract said ICU and they are not scheduling you for ICU, then you are well within your rights to cancel. If you need the job, it certainly wound not hurt you to talk to the IMC manager to see what the job entails.

Good luck

IMC is critical care. Are you sure your contract specifically says you will work in an ICU instead of critical care? Have you worked in an IMC/step down unit? Honestly, those two units are not THAT different to warrant a concern for losing any nursing critical care skills, especially for such a short period.

Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele ICU/CCU.

You are all putting my mind at ease. I do realize that IMC is critical care but it is not ICU. I realize that the RN's there need to have critical care skills in order to work there, and while I worked in the ICU I did float at least once a month to the Step-down unit, so I have worked there. My contract does specifically state ICU, and during the interview they discussed trauma ICU with me, so that is why I am concerned. There was a roster sent out that actually shows the 9 nurses that were hired, listing their specialty, and the unit they are assigned to. All of the nurses are working on their specialty units, including the IMC nurses being assigned to IMC, ICU nurses being assigned to CVICU, Trauma ICU, Surgical ICU, etc. I am the only one with ICU as my specialty and being stationed in IMC. I am feeling better about this than I was previously, thanks to all of your responses. I will keep you all posted and let you know how it all works out. Thank you all so much for responding to my post.

Hey what agency do you work for?

I would be taking a look at the Agency you signed up with, for sure.

I've been testing the waters for travel nursing in the ICU for about a year now. I'm going to pull the trigger in a couple months and I've run across similar findings. I don't like when you get more in depth in the conversation to find that the ICU they are talking about is a SDU or PCU or CCU etc. A rose by any other name is still a (more than 2:1 pt nurse ratio) rose. I don't appreciate dishonesty. What's ironic about it is I would be more likely to sign up for a SDU for 13 weeks if they had been upfront about it and not attempted to deceive. I don't think you'll really lose your skills but they may get a little rusty, it's really personal preference if you take it.

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