critical care nurse     

Critical Care Nursing is a specialty where nurses deal with life-threatening patients or patients who are at a high risk for these health problems. These nurses work predominantly in the hospital setting and in various units such as intensive care units, pediatric or neonatal intensive care units, emergency departments, cardiac care, cardiac catheter labs, recovery rooms, and progressive care units. Some critical care nurses also work in home health, outpatient surgery centers and managed care facilities.

According to American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), critical care nurses practice in settings where patients require complex assessment, high intensity therapies and interventions, and continuous nursing vigilance.

They rely upon a specialized body of knowledge, skills, and experience to provide care to patients and families and create environments that are healing, humane and caring.  Critical Care Nurses provide a variety of roles besides a bedside nurse. They are also educators, researchers and, most of all, patient advocate. (,  2001)

The level of education required to be a Critical Care Nurse you need to be a Registered Nurse and may do so by earning a diploma, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. The majority of nurses will obtain their critical care education and training by their employers. There are also certifications that can be obtained by nurses working in critical care and whether this is required, will vary from facility to facility and depending on the area of specialty. Most Critical Care Nurses become certified in ACLS. Other examples of certification in critical care areas are TNCC (trauma nurses), balloon pump (cardiac nurses), PALS (pediatric nurses) certification and Pediatric Critical Care Nurses obtain PALS certification.

For more information:
Professional Organizations –
AACN Certification -
Critical Care Nurse Journal -