Would I enjoy working in the ICU?


I'm looking for some advice. I've been working on a busy med/surg floor for about 2 years and have lately been thinking about transferring to the ICU. My hospital has a nice orientation program in place. Currently, I am feeling tired of running around like crazy and hardly knowing my patients, throwing pills at them and not being able to throughly assess them.

A big reservation of going into ICU is also missing patient contact. I really enjoy that in Med/Surg and feel like everyone would be intubated in the ICU. Is this correct?

I am wondering if I would fit into an ICU environment. Could you list some personality traits and characteristics of people that enjoy and are successful in the ICU?

Thanks in advance for all your help!:nuke:

deeDawntee, RN

1,579 Posts

Specializes in Travel Nursing, ICU, tele, etc. Has 12 years experience.

You sound to me that you are definitely ready to take that next step and learn ICU nursing! Yes, you are right, some of your patients are intubated, but certainly not all.

Some people think you have to be detail oriented, and have the desire to know everything there is to know about your patient. To me that is not necessarily true, I think that is how some nurses approach their patients in the ICU, but to me, I am one of those "less is more" people and tend to look for that which I see as pertinent. So don't let that scare you away...you certainly don't need to know every detail to be a great success in the ICU.

It is really cool to really wrap your mind around concepts like hemodynamics and how vents work...it is another level of understanding the human body. I don't think I really got how everything works together until the ICU training.

Are you the kind of nurse who likes to learn knew things? To keep expanding and rising to new challenges?

Go for it, you will never regret it! :yeah::yeah::yeah:


1,531 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, Cardiac, ICU.

No, everyone is not intubated in ICU. I actually don't like "walkie talkies", but at least half of our patients are at least talking.


342 Posts

Specializes in ICU, OR. Has 12 years experience.

Yes, you would like it if you are tired of barely getting to know your 6 patients. You would have 1-2 patients and really get down and dirty with them - assessing them and knowing all bloodwork, tests, family issues etc.

I don't see how you think you would lose patient contact? You will have less patients but don't think that you would have less patient contact. You will probably be getting MORE patient contact. In my experience there are fewer CNA's in ICU, leaving the RNs to do more baths, etc, so you will be doing all the patient care for one or two pts... instead of running around doing a little bit for six.


7 Posts

Also remember that "patient contact" in the ICU also means contact with an entire family. Even if your patient is ventilated, your patient contact will extend throughout an entire family, and you can often learn more about your patient through the eyes of the people who love them. It is also really gratifying to "get to know" a patient, and then come into work one day and they are extubated and be able to say, "it is finally so nice to meet you!"

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