Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU)

Welcome to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU)!

Our unit serves patients who are critically ill and are recovering from complex head and neck, thoracic, urologic, gastrointestinal and microvascular plastic surgeries as well as obstetric and gynecological surgeries and liver transplants. Every day in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) is different, so we are always prepared for quick changes. SICU nurses must be critical thinkers, organized and able to quickly prioritize tasks based on a patient’s changing condition. We’re also looking for nurses who are professional, who take ownership of their role and who hold themselves accountable for the care of their patients. Because our patients are critically ill, our nurses often encounter complex family situations and must be able to focus and provide the best patient family centered care in what can sometimes be stressful environment. Our nurses also understand that nursing involves life-long learning and are not afraid to ask questions. One advantage to working in the SICU is that you will always have many learning opportunities. Our nurses are proactive. They led the charge to include Comfort Care Kits for families of dying patients as part of patient care. Each kit contains donated items and a blanket made by our staff.  Nurses must also value teamwork, because in the SICU, we all work together to provide the best care to our patients. In fact, our staff is consistently commended by new nurses and float pool nurses for how well we work together. We have a positive work environment even when the unit is really busy. We not only enjoying working together, but we also enjoy social, volunteer and other various activities outside of work. There are always opportunities to get involved and enjoy Nashville together with the SICU Volunteer group, SICU Supper Club, SICU Running Club, among others. We’re not looking for nurses to merely fill a position; we’re looking for individuals who add to the team and who share our vision of providing the highest quality care to our patients. If you want to expand your clinical knowledge and grow as a nurse, apply now and join us!

Doug Burns, RN, MHA
Surgical Intensive Care Unit


Location Location
Ninth floor of Critical Care Tower at Vanderbilt University Hospital
Take a Virtual Tour of our Unit
Nurse to Patient Ration Nurse to Patient Ratio
1:2 or 1:3
Beds Number of Beds
ICU = 22
Stepdown = 12
Focus of Care Patient Profile
Adult patients recovering from complex head and neck, thoracic, urologic,
gastrointestinal and OB/GYN surgery as well as liver transplants.
Unit Team Staff Mix
•    Registered Nurses
•    Care Partners
•    Nurse Practitioners
•    Physicians
•    Therapists
•    Social Workers
•    Pharmacist
Certifications Required Certifications
•    RN Licensure
•    BLS Certification
•    ACLS Certification
•    CCRN Certification 
•    FCCS Certification 
•    TNCC Certificatio
Shift Rotations Rotation/Shifts
•    12 hour shifts, 36 hour week
•    Modified self-scheduling 
awards Award
•    AACN Beacon Award, 2009
Nurse Residency Program Our unit is part of VUMC's Nurse Residency Program
Nursing Careers at Vanderbilt


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“Everyone works well together and people are constantly going out of their way to help out. Our nurses are smart, motivated, and fun which makes such an intense workload much lighter. I am proud of the advancement I have achieved in our unit. I started as a bedside nurse, became involved in multiple different committees, transitioned into the help-all role which involves assisting with procedures, traveling with patients, and being a member of the Rapid Response Team, and ultimately stepped into the role as charge nurse. The process of learning and growing over the past four years in these roles, advancing to RN3, and earning my CCRN certification are opportunities that I am both proud of and grateful for.”

Tanna W., RN3/RSL
Surgical Intensive Care Unit

“Working to become the best nurse you can be is not only expected here, but it's contagious and addicting. Working in such a fast-paced environment where you need to stay on your toes during every minute of the hour, I have learned to effectively facilitate emergencies. We are taught and trained to dream big, stay safe and spread a combo of quality care and good vibes.”

Bethany T., RN
Surgical Intensive Care Unit 

“Our SICU providers are always on the unit, night or day. They are approachable and willing to teach. The relationships and rapport we build with our providers allow us to feel empowered to speak up and advocate for our patients.”

Grace W., RN/CSL
Surgical Intensive Care Unit