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Critical Care Nurse


Critical Care Nurses make sure all critically ill patients get optimal care for their illnesses and injuries. To do that, they use their specialized skills as well as their in-depth knowledge of the human body and the latest technology in the field. Most Critical Care Nurses work in hospitals, but they can work out of nursing homes, outpatient facilities and flight units, too. As a Critical Care Nurse, you can specialize in treating adults, children, or babies.

Things You'll Do:

  • Perform assessments of critical conditions
  • Give intensive therapy and intervention
  • Advocate for their patients
  • Operate life support systems

Your job characteristics:

  • Fast-paced
  • Multifaceted
  • Structured
  • Patient-facing

How You'll Get There
  • Get Your
    Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Pass Your
    National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • You can start working as a Registered Nurse.
    More about becoming an RN ›
  • You’ll need to work as an RN for a minimum of two years in critical care. Also, you’ll need to take continuing education classes (the amount of hours are set by your hospital), then you can apply to take the certification exam specific to your specialty area.
  • Get Your
    Critical care nursing certification from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)
  • Depending on where you work, you’ll need to take a certain amount continuing education classes after you get certified in order to stay up-to-date on the latest critical care technology.
  • Become a
    Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN)

More About this Specialty
  • Where You
    Can Work

    • Coronary and intensive care, telemetry, or progressive care units in hospitals
    • Flight units

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  • How Much You
    Can Make

      an average salary of

      $45K - $75K

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  • What Else You
    Can Expect

    • You can choose to focus on subspecialties like neonatal, pediatric, or adult intensive care.
    • Continuing education is an important part of your job, since you’ll need to stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in technology and care.

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