Have you ever thought of making a real impact with the work you do?

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Do you dream of having a rewarding career? Touching and saving lives? Earning a decent income? Being appreciated?

You might want to consider a career in critical care nursing!

So...what does a critical care nurse do?

Image of a woman with a question mark. She is wondering who a Critical Care Nurse is.

Critical care nurses are also known as ICU nurses (intensive care unit nurses). They care for patients from newborns to adults — who have life-threatening conditions and injuries that require continuous monitoring.

Medical team Photo by Günter Valda on Unsplash

And where do they work?

Critical care nurses work in fast-paced intensive care environments across the healthcare system.

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Some examples are pediatric ICUs, neonatal ICUs, telemetry units, post-anesthesia care units, surgery centers, burn units, cardiac units, nursing homes, and trauma centers.

Image of a hospital Photo by Graham Ruttan on Unsplash

You get the flexibility of caring for either a wide range of patients or patients suffering from a particular kind of condition in both the private and public sectors.

Do you have what it takes to be a critical care nurse?

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Here are some personality traits of successful critical care nurses:

  • Compassionate

  • Critical thinking skills

  • Problem solving skills

  • Communication skills

  • Understanding

  • Teamwork

  • Patient

  • Calm

If these traits resonate with you, you're well on your way to doing great things in the health sector.

What does a typical work day look like for a critical care nurse?

Assessing admitted patients and creating a care plan.

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Hands-on bedside care such as caring for wounds, administering prescribed medication, catheter care, taking vital signs, and infusing blood products.

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Responding to changes in patients' conditions.

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Operating and monitoring specialized equipment such as ventilators and heart monitors. Flaticon Icon

Advocating for patients and their families.

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Critical care nurses perform the following duties except:

What about the steps to take to become a critical care nurse?

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  1. Become a registered nurse (RN)

  2. Pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) if you'll practice in the United States.

  3. Receive 1-5 years of on-the-job training in a critical care unit — see the "And where do they work?" section above for examples.

  4. Earn critical care nurse certification.

For more information, check out:

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

Nurse Journal

Every Nurse


Aiden is a fresh graduate from high school. What first step should he take to become a critical care nurse?

How much do critical care nurses make?

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Pay for critical care nurses varies from one location to the other and across different levels of experience.

Flaticon Icon Base pay for USA: $95,527 to $151,223

Flaticon Icon Base pay for Canada:$67,403 to $97,697

It's a rewarding career!

The salary you receive as a critical care nurse is only one benefit of the career. The satisfaction of offering care service and saving lives is equally rewarding.

Sign that says - Thank you ICU Nurses. Photo by Nicholas Bartos on Unsplash

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