ICU or Med-Surg

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Jason Hautala RN Jason Hautala RN 3 years, 2 months ago.

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    Profile photo of dawg03

    I will be graduating from an ADN program at the end of October. I have always wanted to work in a critical care setting as far back as I can remember. I have the chance to work at one at a local hospital. I always hear nurses say start off with a couple of years of Med-Surg experience it will benefit you more. My question to all you nurses out there with experience is this. Would it benefit me more working on a Med-Surg floor first before working in an ICU? If I could get some feedback on the positives and negatives, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.


    Depends on the orientation you get in the ICU. If it is an extensive one, then go for it. If they are giving you a couple weeks and then expecting you to function on your own, pray you don’t kill someone. My first hospital job was on a VERY busy tele floor with floating to the ICU/CCU. Back then, there was no nurse shortage, so it was hard to find a hospital job, so I paid my way through a hospitals ICU residency program (free to employees, several hundred for me) and they liked me and offered me a job when it was over (Three months of classroom work, several hours per week.) Even with all of that book learning, I wasn’t ready for ICU, and I’m thankful I didn’t kill anyone (that I know of.) You really need someone to follow you around for an extended period of time and teach you excellent assessment skills and the finer points of reading monitors and lab values and pathophysiology of your patients.

    I would still go for ICU if I had to do it over, but don’t do anything they don’t train you for. Even going from med/surg to ICU, make sure they have a good training program … you don’t want to be in ICU and not know what to do.

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