Critical care nurses work with critically ill patients of all ages. They may work in a neonatal intensive care unit with premature and newborn babies or in a standard intensive care unit with children, teenagers, adults and elderly patients. These nurses have specialized clinical skills as well as excellent interpersonal skills to help them communicate with the families of their patients. You’ll have access to the latest in medical technology, equipment and supplies. There are many benefits to becoming a critical care nurse whether it’s your first position after nursing school or if it’s a second career.
Many people in this field find that their positions offer them a greater purpose in their own lives. Being able to advocate for your patients, give intensive therapy and provide life-saving interventions can be very personally rewarding. You may find your life to be more fulfilling after accepting a position in critical care nursing.
Opportunities for Personal and Professional Growth and Development
To work in the area of critical care nursing, you’ll need to have earned a registered nurse certificate, pass the national nursing exam and work as a registered nurse for at least two years to apply for and gain your critical care nursing certificate. During this time, many nurses choose to earn a Master of Science in Nursing, which allows them to gain additional skills and knowledge in the field. Developing your patient care, knowledge and relational skills helps prepare you for supervisory and other management roles.
Continuous Learning Opportunities
As a critical care nurse, you will have the opportunity to participate in continuing education programs to bolster your skills and stay abreast of the latest clinical standards for practice. While some continuing education is required for nursing licensure renewal, you will likely find that participating in these lessons and lectures helps you grow your passion and commitment to the field. Many employers cover the cost of fees and materials associated with these learning opportunities.
Flexibility and Balance
Critical care nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals via telemetry and on medical flight
services. The flexibility of this career includes opportunities such as:
•Work schedules that allow you to spend time with your children
•Working weekends so you can have weekdays with your family
•Varied work environments to keep you excited about your job
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses such as critical care nurses can expect a 19 percent growth in job opportunities between 2012 and 2022. The aging of the population, the increase in the number of insured people and the prevalence of chronic diseases mean an increased demand for critical nursing services. Job opportunities are available in nearly every city and state in the United States.
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median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*