TSI, MICU, TSICU what does it all mean and any advice on how to choose?!

Specialties MICU Nursing Q/A

I am a nursing student and we are able to pick our clinical intensives for the upcoming semester.

I have NO idea on what I would like to do! I know have an interest in pediatrics, so I have picked a GPU/peds pulmonary center combo.

Now I get to pick 2 more!

I am interested in trauma and ER sort of things, but I have no idea how to differentiate between MICU, TSI, TSICU and which would be best for me!

I just need some major advice and defining characteristics of each! thanks sooo much!

1 Answer

Specializes in Staff Dev--Critical Care & Trauma.

Well, "ICU" is pretty self-explanatory, generally: Intensive Care Units take the sickest of the sick.

The variations, I have always secretly thought, are more for allowing nurses to feel clique-y among peers (or is helpful in an environment such as this one, where the disciplines need to be divided out), since the general public really only knows that their loved one is sick and in "ICU". (Think about it... nurses and hospitals could just as easily call their ICUs "Red" and "Blue" knowing among themselves that "Red" takes primarily surgical patients and "Blue" takes primarily medical patients. Anyway, I digress...)

CCU/CICU: Cardiac (or Coronary) Care Unit--usually an ICU that takes cardiac medical cases (e.g. MIs)

SCU: Special Care Unit--usually a general ICU that takes everything

CVICU: Cardiovascular ICU--usually takes cardiac surgeries

MISU: Medical ICU--primarily critical medical cases (e.g. Sepsis, respiratory failure, renal/hepatic issues)

SICU: Sugical ICU--primarily critical surgical cases

TICU: Sometimes Thoracic ICU taking chest surgeries, sometimes Trauma ICU

NICU: Neonatal (babies) or Neuro (brains)

PICU: Pediatric ICU (kids)

The list goes on and on... I've seen hospitals with a HRICU (Hepatic/Renal ICU), T-BICU (Trauma & Burn ICU), which shouldn't be confused with the TBICU, which was the unit for traumatic brain injuries, as well as PMICU and PSICU (Pediatric Medical and Pediatric Surgical).

My particular hospital has a CCU (Critical Care Unit) which takes general medical, general surgical, and all Cardiac (both medical and surgical), a TNICU (Trauma-Neuro ICU) and a TRICU (Trauma-Respiratory ICU).

The thing to remember is that in most facilities, the ICUs back each other up so that when the (for example) medical patient census is high, the Surgical ICU will take overflow and vice versa. So no matter where you go--in most cases--you will see glimpses of each population.

I just re-read this post and wanted to clarify: It's not that I don't think that ICUs should specialize. Heaven knows that critical care is becoming more and more specialized out of necessity. I just think the TITLES of units are more for the staff working there than actually informing the public of anything.

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