Nurses have a wide range of choices when it comes to the type of medical care to provide to patients. For those who enjoy a fast-paced, challenging environment that can directly affect a patient during some of the most critical points in life, critical care nursing can be a rewarding field full of excitement and challenge.
Critical Care Nurses provide medical care to those who have been seriously injured or who are battling illnesses or life-threatening conditions. These specialized nurses can work in several different medical departments within hospitals, including emergency departments, intensive care units, neonatal intensive care units, pediatric intensive care units and cardiac care or telemetry units. Some Critical Care Nurses also work within a medical transport or emergency evacuation environment, stabilizing patients while they are moved to medical facilities that can fully provide care for injuries or other heath concerns.
In order to become certified as a Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) a nurse must have already completed the requirements for RN licensure, including a degree in nursing from a college, university or online nursing program. Most Critical Care Nurses have a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, but many have attained an advanced practice degree in nursing, like a Master’s degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice. In addition, a CCRN certification is offered by the AACN, upon completion of two years of care for critically ill patients. Critical Care Registered Nurses can expect to make a minimum average annual salary of around $60,000.
Caring for patients facing dire health concerns takes a special type of nurse who can provide medical care in a fast paced environment. Critical Care Nurses are able to understand the complexity of critical illness and injuries while making fast and accurate decisions. With the nursing shortage affecting specific areas of nursing on a higher level, including critical care nursing, the career prospects for those interested in being a part of medical decisions that can directly impact patient outcomes are continually evolving. A career in Critical Care Nursing is an exciting, adventurous choice for nurses and nursing school students with a high attention to detail and the ability to react quickly and efficiently under even the most stressful circumstances.