Step down to ICU or ER? (Expected GN w/medic experience


What do you think is the best direction for a New Graduate nurse with Emergency exposure/experience as medic or ER Tech? Step down to ICU or directly to Emergency Room? The Ultimate goal being, PA or NP path. Feedback from current RNs and Expected RNs please. Thanks!

Personally, I would get some IMU/ICU experience for a year or so then go to the ER.

I actually have a similar background. I was a medic for 16 years, was an ER tech for a year then got my RN. I worked in the IMU for a year and then the ICU for a little over 8 months, then back to the ER for the past 18 months.

Having been exposed so much to Emergency medicine, going to "the other side" really made me a better nurse. While I have no desire for NP and such, I think it would be a great experience for anyone planning on doing it.


95 Posts

Thanks! @ Nalon1 RN/ EMT-P, feels good to hear this from a medic. Although I feel much comfortable going the ER route; putting more emphasis on the nursing side along with critical thinking from icu sounds like a winner in long term for any direction. Super advice! í ½í¸‰

I was out of my element for sure when I started in IMU, but most of it is the same, just have to think long term instead.

Glad I went IMU -> ICU -> ER. I think I would have been a little too overwhelmed in ICU right away (I did 2 months in ICU for orientation for IMU). I ended up in IMU by accident, was going to work in the ED but no positions were available when I graduated. There was an open position in the IMU in the same facility that I was able to get.

I would think it would help greatly for an NP to have both sides of nursing background, especially if your wanting to do NP in the ED, will help understand what happens after they leave the ED.

Specializes in Emergency. Has 6 years experience.

18 year medic who just passed NCLEX here. I keep saying that I'm completely done with anything emergency because I'm just tired of it. Everyone keeps saying I'll go to my comfort zone or get bored with less craziness. I think everyone is wrong.


95 Posts

CKPM2RN, Happy Holidays!!!! What do you mean here? Are you saying you've worked in a Nursing services arena and miss our emergency specialty area? And feel this is where you belong due to 18 years of exposure/knowledge?

Specializes in Emergency. Has 6 years experience.

No Flightmed123, I mean that after treating emergency patients in the field, and 6 years of working in the ED as a Medic, I would like to get away from my comfort zone of Emergency Medicine and learn other types of patient care. I would like to start Med/Surg and go from there.

That being said, all my co-workers keep saying there is a good chance I could go back into ED nursing because of my exposure and comfort level but I really want to "stretch out" and experience new departments. At nearly 50 I have the nursing world in front of me and I'm eager to step out of my comfort zone and learn new things.

Has 18 years experience.

2 very diff beasts. I was an LPN in an ER, then as an RN, did Level 1 ER too. Then moved to cardiac ICU. Sooo much to learn about patients and disease processes and drugs. I mean in like 5 years in the ER all we ever used was dopamine for BP control, who cares what the HR is!! lol. Anyway, it will def hone your critical thinking and all you emergency med stuff will help you as well. Big time. Good luck