I got a new job.

Hey guys – big shocker here – I’m starting a new job soon!

I’m not going to go into much detail but here’s what I can tell you:

  • I’m going to be working in a critical care unit (aka CCU) – taking care of the sickest of the sick.
  • It’s going to be in a much larger hospital than I’m used to as compared to my background at critical access hospitals.
  • I will no longer be teaching students at clinical sites.
  • It will be a mix of day shifts and night shifts – usually 6 weeks of days followed by 6 weeks of nights.
  • It will be a transition to a new environment and a huge learning curve!
  • I’ll be commuting a little over an hour to work for 3 – 12 hour shifts/week.
  • I plan on grouping my shifts and staying overnight in town between 12 hour shifts when I’m able (hello air bnb!)

The #1 question I’ve been asked is “What is the difference between CCU and ICU?” Specifically for my new job, there isn’t much of a difference. I will be taking care of a variety of very sick patients, usually intubated, sedated, or on a ton of medications/drips, just like an ICU.

Sometimes people call a CARDIAC care unit a CCU but I am not working at a cardiac care unit – this is a critical care unit. In the even bigger hospitals, there are specific ICUs for specific types of diagnosis – such as NICU just for preemies, Neuro ICU would be specifically for neurology issues, Cardiac ICU would be specifically for heart issues etc. But, again, my new unit will be all kinds of very sick people with a variety of medical issues.

The #2 question I get asked is, “Why do you want to commute so far?” That’s easy: If I want critical care experience, I have to drive to a bigger hospital with a critical care unit so there’s at LEAST a one hour drive no matter which direction I go!

Usually in critical care units, the nurse is only assigned to one or two patients per shift – a HUGE change from juggling multiple ER patients per day/per shift.

I’m going to have to learn how to refocus and distribute my energy. That sounds strange, but I really struggled with that when I moved to a bigger facility from my previous job. Now, I’ll have to adopt that mindset of dedicating attention to one patient for 12 hours at a time as compared to my ER background where a lot of patients get a little attention at a time.

I’m so excited, I’m so ready for a challenge and a change! I’ve been told the transition from ER to ICU seems like it wouldn’t be too bad but is actually pretty tricky! In the mean time I’m brushing up on my critical care and advanced cardiac life support algorithms and medications!

I’m looking for a little advice from my readers: Tell me some good books to listen to on audible for my commute! I love self help/self improvement books and murder mysteries. Any tips for staying awake on the drive home? Any air bnb booking tips and tricks?



  1. Stephanie Penney
    April 12, 2020 / 11:35 am

    Books: the girl and the train.

  2. Sara
    April 12, 2020 / 11:59 am

    I love to listen to podcasts while I drive. My favorite one is Crime Junkies. Each are about an hour long and she rotated between murder cases, missing cases, and serial killers. Best Wishes on your new job!

  3. Ellie
    April 12, 2020 / 12:16 pm

    Books…..Louise Penny’s series that begins with Still Life

  4. Kelsi
    April 12, 2020 / 12:19 pm

    Congratulations! I really struggled when commuting when I worked at Covenant. I stayed down there during my rotation but always came home right away after my night shift rotation. Which I could never sleep when I worked night shift. I seriously averaged like 6 hours of sleep during my 3-12 hour shifts. So I was always exhausted when I was on my way home. No amount of caffeine was helpful for those drives. But I would usually call and talk to my grandma and that helped me get home safely.

  5. Sue
    April 12, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    Any of “The Cat Who…” books by Lillian Jackson Braun. Murder mysteries solved by a journalist and his two Siamese cats. Fascinating characters.

  6. Ana Sweet
    April 12, 2020 / 12:47 pm

    Any of Alexander McCall Smith’s books. Especially the African Detective ones. Not really about detecting but about life.

  7. LaNan Eldridge
    April 12, 2020 / 2:19 pm

    Congratulations …abolishing series I would recommend if you like civil war history would be The Bregdan chronicles

    • LaNan Eldridge
      April 12, 2020 / 2:20 pm

      My comment should say civil war history ?

  8. April 12, 2020 / 2:54 pm

    I like podcasts more than books for driving.. podcasts are varied and usually around 45 min which would be good for your one hour drive.
    I commuted for 45 minutes but it was because of heavy traffic, not distance. Just a mind set and a lot of people commute for that long every day! The 3 shifts a week are perfect for distance work.
    Try it both ways, commuting and staying over. If you can sleep during the day after nightshifts, then staying over makes sense… 2 days of lovely sleeping without hearing kids or being woken up. And, when you are home, you won’t be spending your time trying to catch up on sleep and will have the energy to be doing everything to catch up and get ready for your next shift.

  9. Linda in NE
    April 12, 2020 / 4:41 pm

    Miss Fortune series by Jana Deleon–mystery, hilarious
    In Death series by J.D. Robb–the narrator is fabulous
    Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box—game warden set in Wyoming, some are pretty intense

    Those night drives home after a long shift are hard. Wide open windows & sound turned UP. Your setup of days to nights should be easier to adjust to. Our son worked 12 hr shifts that flip-flopped every few days. Transitioning so fast was hard.

  10. Jay D
    April 12, 2020 / 9:47 pm

    I worked ER then went to ICU, it is a challenging transition, but I love the critical care pace. I commuted 90 minutes and there are several nurses who have rent a bed set ups for the commuting nurses. Very safe and quiet environment. I listen to a mix of thrillers. historicals, cozy mysteries – they come in handy if your stress load is higher than normal. I have added a few podcasts in the past year.

  11. Jeanne Anderson
    April 12, 2020 / 10:41 pm

    love the books by CJ Box about Joe Pickett and family…….also any of David Baldacci,he writes different groups of books each series is wonderful………….those are 2 of my favorite mystery writes

  12. Cindy
    April 12, 2020 / 10:42 pm

    Thank you for your dedication in the healthcare field. I appreciate every nurse I meet.

  13. Lynda Breegle
    April 12, 2020 / 11:28 pm

    Congratulations on your new job! Anything by James Patterson is good—I especially like the Women’s Murder Club series. They are well read and truly drawn you into the story. I find them for free through my library through the Libby app v

  14. Anne Simonot
    April 13, 2020 / 2:07 am

    Congrats! I too commute over an hour to work 12-hour shifts, but in between I get to stay at my mom’s. Reconstructing Amelia is an excellent audiobook. I’m sure I’ll think of more later. Podcasts are another commute staple; usually true crime. In the Dark, season 1; Accused, season 1 & 3; CBC’s Uncover has some good seasons. Best of luck in your new job.

  15. Susan the Farm Quilter
    April 13, 2020 / 2:45 am

    Congratulations on the new job!! How nice to be able to dedicate so much time and focus on just one or two patients. On the airbnb…make friends with a single nurse and pay her much less to crash at her house every week. If your schedules are the same, it would be wonderful. On the books, I don’t listen to books, but if the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy GIlman is fun as she does jobs for the CIA!!

  16. Sew happy
    April 14, 2020 / 6:55 pm

    When I had a long comment I rented a studio apartment as that is all I could find. I know correction officers will often rent rooms. If you can do the 3 days in a row, I would stay over to be safe especially in the winter. Do a google search and ask around? Have a good day

  17. Elle
    April 14, 2020 / 8:16 pm

    You might see if there is someone just opposite your rotation that you could rent a room from for those 2 nights? She/he makes a bit $ and you save over a full-on rental. Working 12s, you will only eat and fall into bed till it’s time to shower/eat and go back.

    I’ve always a music person in the car. If I’m driving tired, I turn up the volume and change genres every 3-4 songs to pick up my brain. A book would lull me out. It is also a great time to talk to someone. A 1 hour phone call with your Mom or a sister for that commute??? That worked best for me when I was commuting.

    Working ER Critical Access, you may be better prepared for CCU than you think.


  18. Robby H.
    April 19, 2020 / 12:38 am

    About the Air B&B. try a few places until you find one that feels as good as ‘not home’ can feel and fits your budget. After staying there 2 or 3 different times (not different nights), I’d contact the host and explain your situation. They might be willing to cut you a little bit of a deal if you are able to book multiple times ahead. You could even be politely direct and ask them if there is anything you can do to convince them they’d like to make an arrangement like that. Many people are much happier having a little less money for someone who is responsible and makes a longer term commitment. Good luck in the new job!

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