How to Become a Critical Care Nurse

A critical care nurse is a professional who deals with seriously ill patients in the intensive care unit. They do not only care for the patients, but also help doctors administer treatment and monitor the conditions of the patients. The service of critical care nurses is highly important and can mean the difference between success and failure of a medical endeavor. In some cases, they can also save the lives of patients. As such, a career in critical nursing can be very stressful and requires extraordinary commitment and genuine passion to help others. Although it is a challenging job, it can also bring great fulfillment. If you wish to become a nurse, it is advantageous to know exactly what the job entails.

Job Profile

The duties of a critical care nurse include caring for patients, checking and monitoring the vital signs of patients, administering appropriate medicines and helping doctors perform treatments. As a critical nurse, your job is more pressurizing than that of a regular nurse as a result of the critical nature of the illnesses of the patients under your care. When critical symptoms show, you must act in an efficient manner to ensure that the appropriate treatment will be administered as soon as possible. You also have to work with many different kinds of medical equipment, including life support systems.

What It Takes to Become a Critical Care Nurse

To become a successful nurse, you must be very attentive as you will be required to provide information regarding patients to the doctors. You are responsible for detecting symptoms in patients and must be constantly prepared for the unexpected as life-threatening symptoms may present at anytime. It is also important that you possess strong knowledge of medications and treatment methods, as well as their effects on patients. You will be required to work closely with doctors and must be prepared to work long hours when emergencies occur. Attention to detail, a strong will and calmness are some of the traits that you need to possess to excel in the field of critical care nursing.

Education Requirements

An education in nursing is a must for anyone who wishes to become a critical care nurse. There are many schools that offer excellent nursing courses and programs that are appropriate for a critical nursing career. If you want to learn the basics of nursing, you can opt for a diploma or Associate Degree in nursing. A Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree in nursing will prepare you for greater career advancement, making you eligible for top critical care nursing positions in the best medical facilities. Typically, nursing programs cover areas of study such as human anatomy, illnesses, medications, and nursing procedures. After obtained the required nursing education, you must obtain an advanced practice certification or a cardiac care certification before you seek employment.

Career Opportunities and Salary

Critical care nurses are in high demand nowadays and you can be assured that you win a great position once you have graduated from nursing school. Most critical care nurses work in hospitals, but there are some who work in nursing schools, outpatient surgery centers, clinics, nursing schools and private homes. With enough experience serving as a critical care nurse, you can get promoted to become a nurse practitioner, or you can even opt to become a professor in a nursing school. The average salary for a critical care nurse is $65,000 a year which may change based on the individuals drive and experience.

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