How to become a Critical Care Nurse

How to become a Critical Care Nurse: Salary & Responsibilities

In this article, we outline a step-by-step guide on how to become a critical care nurse. Critical care nurses give specialized care to patients who are severely sick or wounded. They are responsible for treating patients and taking care of their health problems to improve their health and quality of life. So, they need to have good communication skills with other people and great clinical skills to work well with patients and other healthcare professionals.

CCU Nurses offer treatment in both normal ICUs and specialty units. Intensive care nurses may care for patients of various ages, although most of the time they care for adults or children.

A critical care nurse at a small hospital is likely to offer care to patients of all ages. Still, in major medical institutions, intensive care units are likely to be divided into adult and pediatric sections. Critical care nurses provide medical and surgical treatment to patients in rural hospitals.

Intensive care units in large medical centers are frequently split into specialty sections. Specialty critical care units include cardiovascular, medical, surgical, burn, and neurological intensive care units.


What are the roles of a critical care nurse?

Critical Care Nurses work in a variety of settings including intensive care units (ICUs), emergency departments (EDs), trauma centers, operating rooms (ORs), and post-anesthesia recovery areas (PAR).

 Their duties include;

  •  monitoring vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels;
  • administering medications;
  •  performing diagnostic tests;
  • providing emotional support to family members;
  •  collaborating with physicians on patient treatments plans;
  • overseeing respiratory therapy equipment usage ;
  • and educating families about end-of-life decisions when necessary.

How to become a critical care nurse

Critical care nurses are registered nurses who have received specific training to care for patients suffering from life-threatening diseases, injuries, or complicated medical difficulties.

  1. Gain +2 years of experience in general nursing

Typically, new graduate nurses are not employed immediately in critical care units. Prior to being considered for employment in intensive care, most companies need nurses applying to work in critical care areas to have a minimum of one to two years of general nursing experience.

  1. Get certified in advanced cardiac life support

Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification is necessary for intensive care nurses. ACLS training equips nurses and other healthcare personnel to deliver emergency treatment to patients experiencing cardiac arrest, life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, and other medical crises.

  1. Take the CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse) certification exam.

Becoming a fully certified critical care registered nurse in addition to the experience gained from working in the CCU ascertains proficiency and skills to practice

  1. Gain skills in EKG reading

Critical care nurses need to be proficient at performing and interpreting electrocardiograms (EKGs).

How much do critical care nurses earn?

Critical care nurses earn more than nurses in most other nursing specialties. Critical care nurses frequently earn bonus compensation in addition to their normal income for the several qualifications that they must have.

The job market for intensive care nurses is always good. The prospect for sustained expansion in the field of intensive care nursing is positive, owing to the growing complexity of medical technology and the need for the competence necessary to assist very sick patients to survive.

It should be noted that this specialty field does require long hours, so those considering entering this profession should weigh all factors before making any final decisions regarding career paths. 

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