Want to work in ICU

Posted

Hi, I have been off the Medical Surgical floor for a year, but I have been pursuing my BSN. I will be done wiht my BSN by the end of December, and I really want to work in ICU. I have looked at different hospitals job openings for the ICU area and all of them say they want experience. How do I get experience? Advice?

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in New NP Hospitalist, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,020 Posts

I think you're in the same situation so many people face, how to get experience when everyone wants experience in order to offer a job. I know that at my hospital, I had good reviews from my med-surg manager, and she actually recommended me to my critical care nurse manager. Unfortunately it's often a who-you-know thing with many nursing jobs. Do you have any contacts in an ICU in your area? Good luck.

alaskaman

Specializes in Critical Care Emergency Room. Has 29 years experience. 61 Posts

Frequently it requires that you find a program who has a proctored ICU training program. Does your hospital have that? If not, I would look around.

ptier_MNMurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU. Has 6 years experience. 70 Posts

I agree with JBMmom in that it often seems to be a "who-you-know thing". Talk to and be open with your manager about your aspirations and they will give you realistic expectations for you and how they might help you! Do you know anyone who works ICU? Otherwise just get your name and application out there! There are definitely ICU's that will take med/surg experience. It also just depends on what other sorts of applicants are applying at a given time. Sometimes you might be in a batch of applicants all with ICU experience and other times not. In the latter case your references will be valuable. Ask around to shadow as well and make some connections that way! Then you can also know what you are getting into and see where you might want to work definitively.

Throw you application out there! The worst they could say is no.... The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

chris21sn, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU, CCRN. Has 6 years experience. 146 Posts

Hey! It definitely isn't who you know. You can do it ? I didn't know anyone. I had the right experience - I had about 9 months experience in a telemetry unit - high acuity CHF floor - that accepted all drips and chronic ventilators. I sold myself - I took the ACLS, I got my Critical Care Course - I even per diem'd in a rehab floor that accepted chronic ventilator - and then after 9 months I looked and I was persistent and I think I went to about 8 interviews, and easily snagged 3 acceptances. You can do it ? !

CinLeo42

139 Posts

Hi Chris21sn,

I applied to PCU & didn’t get the job because of gaps in my employment. At least that is what the interviewer said. He commented on how I left my first job before a year and then didn’t work until a year later. I worked at a hospital for two years & left. I was bullied & burned out. I don’t think I would have gotten burned out so quickly if I didn’t get bullied. So, this hurt me & now I have been off the floor for 1.5 years. I have been working on BSN but not sure how I’m going to move forward. I am not good with interviews. I want to work in ICU and it makes sense to work in PacU for experience. However, the hospital I worked at had 7-8 patients per nurse. Sometimes they would make the nurse be charge nurse with 7-8 patients.

chris21sn, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU, CCRN. Has 6 years experience. 146 Posts

1 hour ago, CinLeo42 said:

Hi Chris21sn,

I applied to PCU & didn’t get the job because of gaps in my employment. At least that is what the interviewer said. He commented on how I left my first job before a year and then didn’t work until a year later. I worked at a hospital for two years & left. I was bullied & burned out. I don’t think I would have gotten burned out so quickly if I didn’t get bullied. So, this hurt me & now I have been off the floor for 1.5 years. I have been working on BSN but not sure how I’m going to move forward. I am not good with interviews. I want to work in ICU and it makes sense to work in PacU for experience. However, the hospital I worked at had 7-8 patients per nurse. Sometimes they would make the nurse be charge nurse with 7-8 patients.

Yeah, I understand. If you look up - "breathe in, breathe out" on my topics page that I wrote in 2016 - I went into detail about how I was bullied in my telemetry job (severely bullied - hence the reason I stayed only 9 months and left right away to go to ICU)

Honestly, to many jobs it will look bad to try to get into a ICU right away especially considering you had a 1.5 year absence. If you leave for long expanses of time they consider you as a new grad again.

I don't think that necessary difficult as well. There are many people that have been accepted into ICU as a new grad...Again, my advice still stands. Make yourself stand out - get ACLS, get a Critical Care Course, do some ICU shadowing. Show them that your absence did not hinder you.

CinLeo42

139 Posts

Thank you so much for your advice! Makes total sense. I thought had to be working as a critical care nurse in order to take the courses?

chris21sn, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU, CCRN. Has 6 years experience. 146 Posts

Nope! My hospital paid for my critical care course, and I was a mere telemetry nurse at the time. And I do believe there is one online that you can pay for as well.

Edited by chris21sn

RN_atlast

Specializes in ICU. 16 Posts

Location, location, location.

The hospitals with nice shiny facilities that everyone wants to work at will probably be extremely saturated with applicants, especially to their critical care departments as med/surg and telemetry have a way of running nurses ragged.

I was working tele/CV step-down in a decently sized hospital, in a system that owns multiple hospitals. I wanted ICU experience, and though I knew many people in ICU there, I opted to look elsewhere. I was there long enough to transfer to a different department, but I felt like it was a better move for me to go elsewhere. There was a strong system of favoritism there.

I applied to a hospital a little closer to my place, a much smaller hospital with less resources. Largely underserved patient population. In the interview I highlighted on the step-down aspect of my job and how that experience could translate to ICU, and acknowledging my willingness to learn. I got the job and am currently finishing orientation. I love ICU, community hospitals and love nursing in underserved areas, so it works perfectly for me.

Try smaller hospitals.

CinLeo42

139 Posts

Thank you for your comments. I really do appreciate the advice I am getting.

CinLeo42

139 Posts

Hi, I'm finally finishing up my BSN, but I have been off the nursing floor (Med Surg) for 2 years now. Should I do an RN review course? I really want to work in ICU. Any suggestions on the first steps I should take to get where I want to be? What critical care courses should I take? Will hospitals let me shadow if I am not working at a hospital? I have so may questions and wish I had a nurse mentor. I am determined to get back into nursing but I want to be in an area that I know I will excel in.