Career Spotlight: Critical Care Nurse
Thinking a career change within nursing? Consider becoming a critical care nurse! Critical care is a popular specialty that many nurses decide to pursue. If you’re looking for an exciting job that will keep you on your toes and will always teach you something new, critical care nursing might be the field for you.
What is a Critical Care Nurse?
These nurses are responsible for working with critically ill patients
According to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, “a critical care nurse is a licensed professional nurse who is responsible for ensuring that acutely and critically ill patients and their families receive optimal care.” 1
How do you become a Critical Care Nurse?
A critical care nurse is required to have a degree in nursing. This can either be an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).1
How much do Critical Care Nurses make?
The salary range for critical care nurses is $55,000 to $95,000.2 This of course is dependent upon the type of degree you have, where you are working and multiple other factors.
What does a normal day look like for a Critical Care Nurse?
For a critical care nurse, there really isn’t a ‘normal’ day. Each day differs from the one before it.
According to Katie Kirschner, an ICU nurse, “There’s really no typical day in the ICU. It really depends on the patients that we have, and what illness they have and how critically ill they are.” Katie says that her days begin with getting the reports on her patients to figure out what is going on with them.3
A critical care nurse’s day depends largely on their patient’s reports and what is going on with the patient’s assigned to them.
Edgar Mendoza, a critical care nurse, of Nurse Mendoza says “for ICU our reports are head to toe, very thorough, very in-depth. You have to know what’s going on with your patients.”4
Each day is exciting for a critical care nurse because they can never predict what kind of patient or illness might come into their care.
Because of this, critical care nurses always have the opportunity to expand their knowledge.
Cindy Killian, a critical care nurse for Bay State Health loves that critical care nursing is a career that she is constantly learning from. “I love the people that I work with and the fact that I’m learning every day I come in… after 35 years!”5
Is critical care nursing the right choice for me?
If you are looking for a career that changes from day to day and keeps you on your toes, critical care nursing might be for you.
Beyond that, critical care nursing would be a good option for you if you like to be involved with patients and their families.
Katie finds it an honor that her patients’ families include her in their emotional journeys. “There’s so many different touching moments that have happened. I know some of the most memorable for me, you’re dealing with a very ill, ill patient […] you’re caring for them physically but then caring for the family emotionally.”3
As a critical care nurse, Katie says that she always has to be talking with the families and helping them through the emotional journey they are going through.3
If you like fast-paced, changing work environments and connecting emotionally with families, critical care nursing might be of interest to you.
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