Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU)

SICU Nurses

Advance your SICU career in our Adult Critical Care environment.

As the only academic center in San Diego, UC San Diego Medical Center is extremely proud of the advanced care we provide in our region. The U.S.News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” rankings for 2006 indicate the high caliber of our superb health care professionals and programs. Our SICU, located at our Hillcrest location, serves a designated Level 1 Trauma Center, and treats approximately 2,000 Trauma, Pediatric Trauma, Neurosurgical, GI, ENT, Vascular Plastics, Orthopedics and General Surgery patients a year. The physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, and trauma techs work as a compassionate team that places the greatest value on bedside care, driven by evidencebased practice. 

Surgical Intensive Care Unit and Level 1 Trauma

Location: 2nd Floor Hillcrest
# of Beds: 20 Surgical ICU beds and a 4-bed Trauma Resuscitation Suite.

RNs have the opportunity to advance in the clinical care of our diverse patient population through our clinical ladder system, and can also expand their practice by becoming a Trauma Resuscitation Nurse.

The SICU offers a variety of opportunities for advanced patient care, using the latest technologies, as well as a computer documentation system. We have the support of a Clinical Nurse Specialist, a Clinical Educator, and a leadership team made up of nurses who worked as staff RNs in the SICU. 

Ideal Candidates

The SICU is a fast-paced and complex environment, best suited to those who are highly energetic, self-motivated RNs who work well in a busy, challenging unit. Trauma Resuscitation nursing is recommended for those SICU RNs who demonstrate highly advanced skills in patient assessment/intervention, teamwork, assertiveness and crisis management. We require a current California Registered Nurse license, as well as BLS and ACLS certifications. Experienced RNs should have 2+ years of SICU experience, as well as demonstrated critical thinking and problem-solving skills. BSN and/or CCRN certification is preferred. Specialty certifications: PALS, CRRT, Moderate Sedation, and TNCC.

New Graduate Program


It takes a special kind of nursing school graduate to be successful in the SICU. We train our new graduate RNs using the AACN’s Essentials of Critical Care Orientation (ECCO) program. This 12-week course is a blended learning process combining computer-based education as well as precepted clinical training, supplemented with classroom education. After three months with a Preceptor, you will be assigned a “Buddy,” as you transition to independent practice. 

Contact Us Now

If you’d like to apply your clinical skills in supporting advanced practices and technology in an academic setting, where you do good work because you love your job, we’d like to talk with you.