In this post we want to define what it takes to be an ICU nurse, what education is necessary and what type patients are typically cared for. If you’re familiar with all of this, then we encourage you to tell us your experiences in the comments of this post.What is it like day to day as an #ICUNurse? Find out in our latest post: Click To Tweet
What It Takes
Becoming an ICU nurse starts with your education. Nursing programs will allow you to work towards an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. It’s projected that 80% of Registered Nurses will hold a bachelor’s degree or higher by 2020. To be more thorough in your schooling, choose courses that offer clinical rotations in intensive care units.
In addition to completing an approved training program, ICU nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before they can qualify for a state-level license. Additional requirements are set by each state’s board of nursing.
Another way for ICU nurses to advance their career is by obtaining additional certifications. The American Association of Critical Care Nurses offers a certification for registered nurses working with acutely ill patients. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers a CCRN Certification. Requirements differ between the certifying organization and level, but typically include the appropriate level of education, a nursing license, a certain number of hours of work with acutely ill patients and a passing score on a final exam.
An ICU nurse not only needs to have a completed education, but they need to be prepared for the type of work that they will be doing. It’s important to understand that this speciality is for the emotionally strong. ICU patients are trying to recover from severe circumstances.Find out just what it takes to be an #ICUNurse. What do you think it takes? Share your experiences with us! Click To Tweet
Patients Cared For
ICU’s typical patients are critically ill and looking towards a long recovery. Within the ICU, the goals for the patient are more long term than you would see in the emergency room where you are just working towards patient stability. It’s important to consider the bigger picture and the larger scope than you would in other specialities as far as recovery goes. Often times, ICU nurses will only be assigned 1-2 patients so that they are able to give more focused care, which is needed.
ICU Fact: Approximately 55,000 critically ill patients are cared for each day in hospitals’ ICU’s.
One to two patients sounds great, right? Well, it can be more taxing than the regular 6 patients that most nurses are used to in other specialities. Since the patients in the ICU are critically ill, it’s the ICU nurses’ responsibility to ensure they are working towards recovery in the best way possible. The machinery the patient is hooked up to requires constant supervision, and that’s only one thing to stay on top of. You also have to record hourly vital signs, abdominal pressure, central venous pressure, cardiac output and much more. There are many stories of ICU nurses forgetting to use the restroom or take a quick lunch break because of their constant attention to detail. After all, these patients are in the Intensive Care Unit for a very good reason… they need intensive care!
Working in the ICU takes some of the strongest medical staff out there and for those that are in the trenches, we salute you. It’s the care that these people give that allows patients with acute illness to survive and tell the stories of how the ICU staff saved their lives.
If you’re a RN looking to get into an ICU position, check out the available jobs we currently have!