Critical Care Nurses

Provide advanced nursing care for patients in critical or coronary care units.

Median Annual Wage: $66,640

Education: Associate's degree (45%); Bachelor's degree (45%); Some college, no degree (5%)

Projected Growth: Faster than average (15% to 21%)

Related Job Titles: Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN); Intensive Care Unit Nurse; Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Registered Nurse; Burn Center Nurse; Staff Nurse; Catheterization Laboratory Senior Manager (Cath Lab Senior Manager); Critical Care Unit Manager; ICU Staff Nurse (Intensive Care Unit Staff Nurse); Registered Nurse Supervisor (RN Supervisor); Staff Nurse, ICU Resource Team (Staff Nurse, Intensive Care Unit Resource Team)

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Critical Care Nurses.

More Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Careers

  • Monitor patients for changes in status and indications of conditions such as sepsis or shock and institute appropriate interventions.
  • Set up and monitor medical equipment and devices such as cardiac monitors, mechanical ventilators and alarms, oxygen delivery devices, transducers, or pressure lines.
  • Administer medications intravenously, by injection, orally, through gastric tubes, or by other methods.
  • Assess patients' pain levels or sedation requirements.
  • Conduct pulmonary assessments to identify abnormal respiratory patterns or breathing sounds that indicate problems.
  • Monitor patients' fluid intake and output to detect emerging problems such as fluid and electrolyte imbalances.
  • Document patients' medical histories and assessment findings.
  • Prioritize nursing care for assigned critically ill patients, based on assessment data or identified needs.
  • Compile and analyze data obtained from monitoring or diagnostic tests.
  • Administer blood and blood products, monitoring patients for signs and symptoms related to transfusion reactions.
  • Assist physicians with procedures such as bronchoscopy, endoscopy, endotracheal intubation, or elective cardioversion.
  • Document patients' treatment plans, interventions, outcomes, or plan revisions.
  • Collect specimens for laboratory tests.
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to develop and revise treatment plans based on identified needs and assessment data.
  • Identify malfunctioning equipment or devices.
  • Advocate for patients' and families' needs, or provide emotional support for patients and their families.
  • Perform approved therapeutic or diagnostic procedures based upon patients' clinical status.
  • Identify patients who are at risk of complications due to nutritional status.
  • Assess patients' psychosocial status and needs, including areas such as sleep patterns, anxiety, grief, anger, and support systems.
  • Assess family adaptation levels and coping skills to determine whether intervention is needed.
  • Coordinate patient care conferences.
  • Ensure that equipment or devices are properly stored after use.
  • Identify patients' age-specific needs and alter care plans as necessary to meet those needs.
  • Supervise and monitor unit nursing staff.
  • Participate in professional organizations and continuing education to improve practice knowledge and skills.
  • Participate in the development, review, or evaluation of nursing practice protocols.
  • Plan, provide, or evaluate educational programs for nursing staff, interdisciplinary health care team members, or community members.
  • Provide post-mortem care.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Critical Care Nurses.

  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Critical Care Nurses.

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