Critical Care nurses deliver care to some of the more intensive patients, like those in intensive care units. Patients may be victims of severe accidents, post surgery, or have a long-term critical illness. Critical care literally means providing for the most vital needs of very sick and injured patients. But the duty of a Critical Care RN doesn’t stop at the patient’s bedside. He or she is also responsible in part for the family members—ensuring they are adequately informed to extent of the law, nurtured and provided for while dealing with their loved one’s medical circumstances, even death.
Critical care nursing is one of the nursing specialties in which new grads do have the opportunity to get into entry-level jobs. Most of these are within hospitals where patients have immediate access to medical physicians and specialists, as well as radiology, lab, pharmacy and other vital support systems necessary for life support.
New nurses on a Critical Care floor are usually engaged in an initial period of preceptorship during which an experienced nurse serves as supervisor and teacher.
Again, many critical care hospital units recruit new nurses directly from nursing school programs. Minimum acceptable education is a two-year Associates degree in Nursing. The preferred degree is the BSN. Candidates must also have their RN license.
If this is a nursing specialty you’d like to pursue then you can be in a job within 2 years if you choose to follow the community college Associates degree option.
RNs that remain working as Critical Care nurses are urged to pursue their CCRN certification, or Critical Care Nursing certification. This type of credential indicates an RN’s confidence in his or her skills and willingness to prove practice standards in line with national standards.
The American Association of Critical Care Nursing is the national organization that represents and supports many of the nations’ critical care nurses. Members have access to continued education units, conference and networking opportunities, scholarships and grants, and recent industry news as it pertains to CC nurses.