Critical Care Nursing (CCN) is an important specialty in nursing especially in a hospital setting. Based on the data of American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, there is about 37 percent of all nurses working in hospitals are involved as CCN. It means that they work dealing with the patients who are critical or ill acutely.
How to Become a Critical Care Nurse?
Generally to become a CCN you should earn a Registered Nurse (RN) first. But still, it depends on the demand for the types of nurses; some workplaces consider having Licensed Practical Nurses. The point is a CCN requires a nursing diploma or degree and passes the accredited nurse licensure exam.
Here are the educational paths that you can follow to become a critical care nurse:
- Bachelor degree (4 years) through online or traditional class
- MSN degree (2 additional years) through online or traditional class
- PHD or DNP (2-4 additional years) through online or traditional class
Basically you need to earn several years experience as a traditional nurse before taking a critical care nurse. Once you are in this position in a critical care unit, you should get at least 2 years in a critical care unit before you can be a Critical Care Registered Nurse certification examination administered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACCN). Clinical Nurse Specialists
ICU Nurse Requirements
Besides the mentioned degree and experience above, you will also need some recommended certifications for ICU nurse requirements. They are:
- CCRN (Certification for Critical Care Nursing)
- ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support)
- PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support)
Other additional skills are:
- Key skills
They deal with the interpersonal communication, empathy, critical thinking and decision-making.
- Computer skills
They include medical software and information retrieval software.
- Technical skills
They deal with some equipment such as vascular catheters, traction equipment and various imaging systems (e.g. ultrasound). How to Become a Neonatal Nurse?
Emergency and Critical Care Nurse Training Program
As previously mentioned, to gain the CCN level you should complete an RN then BSN. Upon graduation, the nurses must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before applying for a CCN job.
The schools conducting the critical care nursing include:
- Purdue University
- American National School
- Grand Canyon University
- Capella University
- Herzing University
Critical Care Nursing Job Descriptions
There are four main duties of the CCN:
- Patient advocacy
Communication with the patients’ family is important duty of CCN. Usually the patients’ family communicates with CCNs during the difficult times. Therefore, CCNs should clearly explain the treatments and medical procedures as well as update the patients’ condition and inform the family of the worst update.
- Critical patient management
A CCN might be called upon to treat the patients quickly, especially when they don’t respond to a certain treatment. A CCN should think fast to possibly adjust the treatment option by him/herself. If the worst thing happened, a CCN should be skilled in life saving techniques such as a cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and how to use life saving tool such as defibrillators.
- Intensively monitoring patient’s condition
The patients’ conditions should be periodically reported to their primary care physicians or the charged nurse. It is because the treatments need to be adjusted according to the patients’ progress.
- Performing doctor’s orders for treating the patient
CCNs provide much of the fundament care for critical patients under the supervision of the doctors. They also assist physicians and specialists by monitoring and treating the patients.
Critical Care Nursing Course
Some courses taught in critical care nursing include:
- Advanced nursing care theories
- Health assessment
- Clinical Pharmacology
- Management of acutely injured patients
- Advanced research in critical care
- Advanced practice in nursing
To sum up, a CCN should be able to put the skills to use in various settings, such as working in intensive care units, emergency or recovery rooms, or step-down units which usually a transitional unit between ICU and regular care. Most CCNs also work for critically patients at homes, clinics and outpatient surgery. Therefore, the appropriate degrees and experience are indeed needed.