Transitioning from Hospice to Critical Care, please help!


Hi! So I'm a 25yo RN with two years of hospice nursing experience, and 5 years overall in the same field. I was recently accepted into an ICU at a hospital in a completely different state! I'm excited as they are willing to train me and give me the time I'll need to adapt to the very different style of nursing; however, I'm still very nervous! Any advice for someone with literally ZERO critical care experience?? Thanks in advance!



27 Posts

Congrats! I'm in hospice too and sometimes think about doing what you're doing. This book and website is amazing as far as I can tell and has helped me w general nursing practice: index best of luck!


144 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac/Transplant ICU, Critical Care. Has 5 years experience.

I'm gonna be honest with you, you will be in the same world of very critically ill patients but on completely different ends of the spectrum. You are already familiar with end of life and comfort care which can be a very big part of Critical Care Nurse, but it will be a very intense transition.

It's going to be fast paced, stressful, scary, but fun all at the same time. Make sure to study up on your A+P and your pharmacology especially when it comes to cardiac meds. Ask lots of questions and write everything down because you will be thrown a lot of information in a very short amount of time.

You will also have to work on your time management, organization, and your critical thinking. The Units are very fast paced and you need to be sharp as a tack. It can be very overwhelming but also amazingly fulfilling. You are on a career path that is not the USUAL recipe for Unit nursing but if you are willing, have the hunger, and drive to learn and to better yourself, then you will be great!

Congrats on the new gig!


3 Posts

I felt obligated to leave a comment here because I literally did the exact same thing you are doing. I've been a nurse for about 5 years, and about 6 months ago, I transitioned from doing hospice nursing for 1.5 years, to now working in a level 1 trauma center in the Neuro ICU. I love it! I will tell you that having experience on a PCU in the same hospital has helped me tremendously, but even your experience doing hospice nursing will make you a huge asset on the unit. You are able to be an advocate in the ICU that patients and families so desperately need, not just at the end of life, but also through everything they're going though. You've developed skills that makes you emotionally, spiritually, and mentally equipped to be help patients in horrible circumstances.

You will do great! I left hospice because I wanted to challenge myself more, and continue learning at the bedside. I didn't realize how much my hospice experience would come in handy on the unit, but it has, and I am SO grateful to have that background. Good luck!!

You're in a for an exciting, stressful, but amazingly fulfilling job!!