Critical Care Nurse Training


What is a Critical Care Nurse?


A Critical care nurse is a nurse who focuses on the utmost care of critically ill or unstable patients. Critical care nurses will work in a wide variety of environments and specialties such as emergency departments and intensive care units. They work as nurse educators, nurse researches, bedside clinicians, nurse managers, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists.

A critical care nurse is a Registered Nurse (RN) who is responsible for ensuring that critically ill patients and their families receive optimal care.


The concept of critical care is relatively modern. Nurses need specialized knowledge and skills.

Critical care nurses practice work where patients require complex assessment, high intensity therapies and interventions.

In the critical-care setting, they are most frequently Acute-Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNPs) and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS).

In the critical care setting, ACNPs focus on making clinical decisions related to complex patient care problems encountered in the acute-care setting. Their activities include risk appraisal and health history.

A CNS is an expert clinician with a specialty – like a critical care nurse. A CNS is responsible for the identification and intervention of clinical problems. They provide direct patient care, including diagnosing, assessing, planning and prescribing treatment for health problems.

What are the educational requirements to become a Clinical Care Nurse?

Most critical care nurses in the United States are RNs. With the proper training a LPN or LVN can be used in a primary care role in the ICU.

To become an RN, you need either an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). You also need to pass a national licensing exam. The specific requirements will vary from state to state, so you should check with your state’s Board of Nursing.

Those in the U.S. who want to obtain certification (known as the CCRN) in critical care nursing can do so through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses which sets and maintains standards for critical care nurses.

Critical care nurses are now eligible for direct financial reimbursement, like physicians.

What are the specialties within Critical Care Nursing?

Critical care nursing has several sub-specialties of neonatal, pediatric, and adult nursing practice. Common areas of work are surgical, medical, neonatal and pediatric ICUs, cardiac care units, cardiac catheter labs, progressive care units, telemetry units, emergency departments, as well as recovery rooms.

What is the Average Salary of a Critical Care Nurse?

The average salary for critical care nurses will vary by the practice setting, size of the institution, and the geographical location. There are several other factors including experience, education, and position. Hospitals are offering critical care nurses incentives including generous sign-on bonuses, relocation bonuses, and reimbursements, as well as other attractive benefits.

Median Hourly Rate by Job – Skill: Critical Care (United States)Median Hourly Rate by Job

Compare your salary: Get a free Salary Report

Back-to-School 300x250