Critical care is a relatively new specialty within medicine and nursing, yet those qualified to provide advanced care are needed on a daily basis. In intensive care units across the United States, 55,000 patients are treated every day for critical and potentially life-threatening medical conditions, according to the Society of Critical Care Medicine. With increasing lifespan and an ever-aging population, the need for specialists in critical care nursing will only increase. In a special report to Congress made by the U.S. Health & Human Services: Health Resources and Services Administration, the demand for intensive-care medical providers will increase by about 38 percent by 2020.
Life-Threatening Conditions Require Advanced Care Provided by Critical Care Nurses
When a patient has a serious medical condition that poses a risk to life, whether actual or potential, this patient is in need of critical care services. Nurses in critical care positions require advanced skills for high-risk patients. Some of the advanced job duties include:
•Complex assessments of patient condition and the potential for rapid decline
•Intensive therapies that require extreme diligence and careful, continuous monitoring of the patient’s condition
•Continuous alertness to the ever-changing condition of the patient to reduce the risk of serious and life-threatening complications
The American Association of Critical Care Nurses asserts that the primary role of the critical care nurse is as a patient advocate. In this capacity, the critical care nurse will not only help care for the patient and monitor his or her condition, but they will intercede when necessary on the patient’s behalf to be sure the patient receives the proper care, treatments and respect.
This role as a patient advocate goes beyond the patient to include the patient’s family as well. The critical care nurse keeps the patient’s family updated, brings comfort and acts as a liaison with medical personnel.
Part of an Evolving and Exciting Field
As an RN who chooses to specialize in critical care, you become part of a rapidly advancing specialization designed to put the needs of the patient first while offering an advanced quality of care that goes above and beyond traditional hospital nurse duties.
If you would like to provide vigilant, advanced care to patients with potentially life-threatening conditions, you can remain cool in a fast-paced trauma environment and you can rise up to meet any challenges you may face, a rewarding career in critical care nursing may be right for you.