A critical care nurse works with patients suffering from life threatening medical conditions. These nurses are present in the critical care units of hospitals and healthcare facilities to take care of patients who have gone through invasive surgery, trauma, organ failure, and accidents.
When seeking employment in critical care nursing, most employers may require an advanced nursing degree. Nurses should earn a bachelor's degree in nursing to start their career in critical care. Bachelor's degree in nursing gives them the foundation to deal with the advanced medical challenges, and also prepares them to make an effective use of technology. Nurses having a bachelor's degree are expected to demonstrate solid medical understanding and technological proficiency. Nurses should then seek to earn a master's degree in nursing. During this time, they will be able to focus their studies in the critical care. Online nursing degree programs are now offered by many accredited institutions for students who wish to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree. These types of programs are ideal for current nurses who wish to earn an advanced degree while working full-time in their current position.
Many critical care nurses specialize in a certain area. Some of these focus areas include pediatric care, adult care, cardiology, neurocare, cardiology, and oncology. The duties of nurses vary according to their specialization area. They are also required to obtain special training in order to specialize in a particular focus area.
Working Conditions and Skills
Critical care nurses will work in a stressful environment, and have to deal with life and death situations on a daily basis. They may also have to work long hours, and they will usually be on their feet all day. To effectively perform in critical care situations, nurses require certain crucial skills. They need to be exceptional in interpersonal skills, communication, teamwork, and multi-tasking. They require an outstanding ability to face challenges and stay calm under pressure. They may play a key role in saving the lives, so they may find their careers to be quite rewarding.
Critical care nurses are required to administer medications, write progress reports, and work closely with patients to make treatment plans. Intensive care patients need constant supervision by the nurses. Only highly trained and educated nurses are able to take effective care of these patients.
The critical care nurse salary is dependent on many factors. The salaries may vary according to where they work, experience, and the work setting. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that nurses earned a median salary of $64500 per year in 2010 and about $31.10 per hour.
A positive trend has been observed in the career of critical care nurses since 2004. Vacancies have shown an increasing trend since that time, with an average growth of 2.47% per year. The demand for critical care nurses is further expected to rise. Around 545,170 new jobs are expected in the market by the year 2018. This shows a greater annual growth, expected to be around 2.57 percent per year in the coming years.