ER or ICU

  1. I have been nursing for 3 years and am at a cross roads of needing to make a change. My skills have been varied from ortho, oncology, and telemetry. I am very much wanting to make a change and are seriously trying to find my nitch. I am ready to focus on a more complex speicalty but would love to hear to feedback on ER and ICU nursing.

    I know I am excited (and yas scared but a good tingly kind of scared) of the ER and it's fast pace. I know I would love the diversity and a whole new day every day atmosphere of complex care and skills required.

    ICU patients require lots of tasks, knowledge and skill that I find intriguing, but one big downer, there is little to no dialogue from the patient and I would very much miss that kind of feeedback.

    Could I get some of the pluses and minuses of ideas from my colleagues on the pleasures and draw backs in deciding these two different fields? Please? Thank you for your input in advance!
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Stormy
    Nightngale,
    I would tend to disagree on the concept that you don't get dialogue from your patients in ICU. Granted, there are many who are unresponsive and not able to communicate, but the majority do in some form or another, sooner or later. In fact, I believe that is one of the reasons I prefer ICU over ER. One can expend a lot of energy in comforting and supporting the ICU patient. You will also find that the care you provide your patient extends to providing the same support to the family.
    Another point that keeps me in ICU, is the ability to follow through with the patients, rather than the fast-paced stabilize and ship somewhere else.
    Good luck in your decision. Both areas are challenging and rewarding. Your challenge is to find the one that is right for you.
  4. by   RNforLongTime
    Good question. Personally, I would pick ICU. I too have not yet found my niche, am still looking. May go into Critical care eventually
  5. by   Zee_RN
    I love ICU. And I get A LOT of dialogue...patients and family. Requires a lot of time educating families. I enjoy knowing so much more about the patient than I ever did on med-surg, because I have a lower patient ratio, I have the ability to read the chart and get more in-depth reports. As a "control freak" I get to exercise a lot more control as I have primary care of the patient.

    While I can understand's ER variety as an appeal, I don't really think I could do it. My cap goes off to those of you who do ER. I don't want to face major trauma, I don't want to face the parents of drowned children, I especially don't want to face the parents of abused children. I don't like large, fresh traumatic lacerations--I like to see 'em AFTER they've been sutured up . So, that leads me to my nice non-trauma ICU.
  6. by   nightingale
    You guys are great! Thank you for your feedback. I love all the quotes! In peace, Bonnie
  7. by   kaycee
    I personally prefer ER. been doing it for 19 yrs now. Before that I worked SICU and CCU. I like ER because it's a little bit of everything. You have to also have knowledge about a little bit of everything.
    It is fast paced for the most part, but you can be dead one minute then the place is bonkers the next. ICU is a more controlled environment, ER is always the unexpected. Sometimes people like to work ICU first and increase their critical care skill level, then when they need a change they try ER. ICU and ER are both great places to work and I hope whatever you chose you enjoy it!! Good Luck
  8. by   catlady
    When I worked ICU, I got as much or more conversation with patients and families than I did in any other setting. (Although I actually preferred quiet ones, but that's just me.) You have some days where you are busier than you've ever been in your life, and other days where you have time for the little touches that make nursing special. And always, always, you remember that you are often the only thing standing between the patient and the Eternal Care Unit.
  9. by   CEN35
    3 testing????/ hmmmmm

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