Critical care nursing is a challenging and complex nursing specialty to which variously registered nurses look forward. The critical care nurses are also known as ICU nurses who hold all the advanced skills to care for the patients who are critically ill and have life-threatening health issues. The critical care nurses are demanded across the world due to their special skills. If you are a registered nurse and want to broaden the scope of your career, ICU nursing could be the right specialty for you. When a patient enters the hospital suffering from severe medical issues, it is the duty of critical care nurse to provide immediate and intensive nursing care. They are proficient in providing settings to which the patient can be given complex treatment.
ICU Nurse Job Description
It is the responsibility of a critical care nurse to administer care to seriously ill patients. The nurses in this profession are trained to treat the patients suffering from strokes, grave wounds, heart attacks, gunshots, critical head injuries and all such serious problems. They have to set up all the pre-surgery requirements and assist the doctor during the surgery. The role of a critical care nurse also includes performing diagnostic tests, assessing the patient’s condition, and beginning the pre-surgical treatments. The ICU nurses are also responsible for taking care of the patient post-surgery. They have to keep all the track of patient’s recovery and bring them suitable treatments from time to time.
These nurses work majorly in the emergency rooms, intense care units, and specialty departments of a hospital. Certain health care clinics also demand the services of an ICU nurse. The profession of critical care nurses is expected to see an employment growth up to 16 percent in the future. The growing health care needs of people have made critical care nursing a lucrative job option.
Responsibilities And Duties Of An ICU Nurse
As the ICU Nurses have to deal with critical cases, they have to perform a variety of tasks for the success of surgeries and recovery of the patient. The scope of their duties and tasks are wide and involve various duties. The list of responsibilities and duties of ICU nurses is as follows:
- assessing a patient’s condition and carrying out required tests
- scheduling and implementing the patient care plans
- providing all kinds of advanced life support and treating the wounds
- assist the physicians in performing required procedures
- recording and observing the vital signs of patient health
- ordering diagnostic tests
- ensuring the sound functioning of all the medical care equipment and making all the settings prior to a surgery
- administrating the intravenous medications and fluids
- collaborating and functioning with the critical care team
- using all the nursing standards and protocols for treating and responding to the life saving situations
- providing education and awareness to the patient and his family and giving the necessary support
- acting as the patient advocate
- carefully assessing and monitoring the progress of the patient after surgery
- reporting for any subtle change in the medical condition of the patient and provide any emergency intervention
- the responsibility of managing all the medications, ventilator support, and other supports
- updating the status of the patient’s recovery to doctors and his family
- performing all the other pre and post-surgical treatments and tests
- catering to the emergency problems by practicing all the nursing skills and protocols
The ICU nurse plays a key role in saving the life of a person. Besides these duties, it is the responsibility of a critical care nurse to keep in mind all the ethical and moral duties to be performed by a nurse.
Qualifications For Critical Care Nurses
To work in the intense care unit, one has to be a registered nurse and obtain her diploma or degree first. It could be either a bachelor or an associate degree. To become a registered nurse you will first have to pass the national exam of registered nurses, and once you have to clear the exam, you will be qualified to become a critical care nurse. Gaining certification for the ICU nurse can make the skills of a nurse more valuable and in demand. In order to obtain the certification, the nurses are required to acquire at least two years of working experience with the critical care patients.
Once all the requirements are fulfilled by the nurse, she would be qualified to receive the certification from the respective association. After receiving the critical care nursing certification, nurses can go for further specialization as well. They can specialize in specified areas and can obtain certification like the certification in cardiac life support, pediatric life support, etc. The certification in the critical care nursing is generally of three years which has to be renewed thereafter.
Required Skills For Critical Care Nurses
Though there is no specific blueprint for a good nurse there are certain qualities and skills that every critical care nurse must possess. The below-listed qualities will help you succeed in the position of a critical nurse:
- They must be expert in evaluating the critical patients
- The nurse must be flexible enough to adapt different situations
- They must have a critical thinking ability to take decisions in a correct manner
- Ability to pay attention to minute details to the case
- A desire to learn more and pay attention to each new thing in the nursing career
- Good decision-making ability to be able to take decisions on the spot and apply their skills in the correct manner
- Strategic planning ability
- An ICU nurse must have effective communication to be able to interact with the patient, doctors, patients family and other members of a critical care unit
- An ICU nurse has to face various difficult situations in their career and therefore they must have the quality of being calm under pressure
- Must have a pleasant nature
Those are the skills required to become a good and a successful nurse. One can make a look and work accordingly to achieve success as a nurse.
ICU Nurse Salary
The hourly and annual pay scale of an ICU nurse can differ from state to state. However, according to the statistics released on 4th February 2018, the average annual income of a critical care nurse can go up to $64,174in the United States. This figure can also fluctuate based on their nature of specialization, daily responsibilities, advanced educational qualifications and a better-earning potential.
The job of ICU nurses brings great perks for them apart from the salary. In addition to it, they are entitled to achieve various monetary benefits like pensions, insurances, social security, paid leaves and childcare as well. In recently published data of 4th February 2018, it is displayed that the number of bonuses received by critical care nurses can range from $0.00 – $10,338. The profit sharing amount could be around $491 annually. Taking all of these factors into consideration, the total income can range from $47,597 – $94,698.comparing the figures from 2017 till now, Prolific changes can be witnessed in both the stats; in fact, the lowest range of salary has largely increased to $47,597.
This shows that there is a high demand for ICU nurses today and the pay scale can turn out to be very beneficial for those who have a great experience and will serve others selflessly.
How Much Do An Intensive Care Nurse Make On An Hourly Basis?
In some of the recently published data, as on 4th February 2018, the median hourly wage of a critical care nurse is estimated to be $29.34, which can also fall in the range somewhere from $22.85 – $42.92. However, this can also vary based upon various factors. The hourly tip received by a specific nurse can be around $4.52on an average basis and their overtime can basically help them to earn a great additional amount of $14.21 – $63.25. They also get the benefit of a yearly bonus ranging between $0.00 -$10,338 and their profit sharing amount comes around $491.
Considering all of these and calculating the overall amount, the ICU nurses may earn huge remuneration of around $47,597 – $94,698. This is because their tasks may differ from unit to unit, and according to the work profile, their wages ultimately get an addition of various bonuses, tips, and overtime.
Average ICU Nurse Salary
|Salary||$39,826 – $96,809|
|Bonus||$0.00 – $10,338|
|Total Pay||$47,597 – $94,698|
The data is extremely credible as the professionals from the US carried out various researchers and analyzed a huge data conducted at specific points to bring out the relative salary of various critical care nurses working within various hospitals.
The Highest Paying States
RN critical care unit nurses can earn huge benefits in such a great job profile. Moreover, their salary is largely associated with various perks which come as a double treat. As it is an obvious fact that the salary may depend from state to state, but some of the places pay the highest amounts to these nurses. The average annual highest pay median include-
Highest ICU Nurse Salary Paying States
|STATE||ANNUAL MEAN WAGE|
|Los Angeles, CA||$99,000|
|New York, NY||$87,000|
This salary calculation is done through the information that is gathered and calculated through various job seekers, their job profiles, various job postings and the current data provided by employers and employees of different places.
ICU Nurse Practitioner Salary
The ICU nurses are now being trained to become acute care nurse practitioners so that their scope of operations can be maximized and the work portfolio can flourish. This is because, there is a need to advocate the patients with comprehensive, universal and appropriate care which they deserve. The average hourly salary and other monetary benefits that are provided to an ICU nurse practitioner can be $29.67. These may also differ as per their qualifications, performance and the departments where they are working.
How Much Do The Nurses in Various ICU Categories Make?
There are various critical care units within every hospital that deals with different patients. The average salary of each of these may differ based upon their working environment, working hours and the criticality of the job.
1. Neuro ICU Nurse Salary
Individuals seeking opportunity in the field of neurocritical care can get benefitted with various monetary rewards. The average salary of a neuro ICU nurse in USA is $56,738 annually and $29 per hour. Even the beginners here, enjoy various advantages, the median average annual salary of a beginner can start from $40,000 however, that of an experienced professional goes up to $79,000.
2. Cardiac ICU Nurse Salary
Nurses belonging to this field deals with the fundamental functioning of the heart and related cardiac issues. The annual average earnings of a nurse belonging to this stream can go up to $44,042 – $91,916 and she earns $32.86 per hour. Various perks are also associated with the job. A professional can earn approx $652 as bonus annually and the overtime benefits can go around $1.20 to $105.
3. Pediatric ICU Nurse Salary
The nurses belonging to this field earn various advantages in terms of monetary revenues. The average salary per hour of an individual ranges around $30.27. However, when accumulated, the overall average earning of a year can go up to $48,417 – $99,835. The overtime prices go around $15.00 – $93.21 and the bonus can even turn up to $22,838. The profession can really become a dream job of many due to its amazing pricing and great benefits.
The job profile, responsibilities and duties involved in the profession of a critical care nurse can be really hectic. But those, who are willing to undertake the responsibilities with their passion for serving others selflessly, can surely turn out great advantages in future. With advanced skills and better experience, they can flourish effortlessly.