Critical Care Nurse

Also called: Burn Center Nurse, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Registered Nurse, Critical Care Nurse, Critical Care Nurse Practitioner, Critical Care Nurse Specialist

Varies

estimated salary

Critical care nurses provide specialized nursing care for patients in critical or coronary care units. 

A Critical Care Nurse is responsible for administering care to those who are seriously ill or injured. They are trained to treat patients who have suffered strokes, heart attacks, or grave wounds, such as gunshot wounds, stab wounds, or head injuries. Critical Care Nurses will assess a patient’s condition, perform diagnostic tests, begin treatments and assist doctors with any required medical procedures.

Critical Care Nurses work mainly in hospital emergency rooms or intensive care units (ICUs) or in specialty departments such as cardiac care or pediatrics. They can also be employed at health care clinics. 

  • Evaluate patients' vital signs or laboratory data to determine emergency intervention needs.
  • Monitor patients for changes in status and indications of conditions such as sepsis or shock and institute appropriate interventions.
  • Set up and monitor medical equipment and devices such as cardiac monitors, mechanical ventilators and alarms, oxygen delivery devices, transducers, or pressure lines.
  • Administer medications intravenously, by injection, orally, through gastric tubes, or by other methods.
  • Assess patients' pain levels or sedation requirements.
  • Conduct pulmonary assessments to identify abnormal respiratory patterns or breathing sounds that indicate problems.
  • Monitor patients' fluid intake and output to detect emerging problems, such as fluid and electrolyte imbalances.
  • Document patients' medical histories and assessment findings.
  • Prioritize nursing care for assigned critically ill patients, based on assessment data or identified needs.
  • Compile and analyze data obtained from monitoring or diagnostic tests.
  • Administer blood and blood products, monitoring patients for signs and symptoms related to transfusion reactions.
  • Assist physicians with procedures such as bronchoscopy, endoscopy, endotracheal intubation, or elective cardioversion.
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to develop and revise treatment plans, based on identified needs and assessment data.
  • Collect specimens for laboratory tests.
  • Document patients' treatment plans, interventions, outcomes, or plan revisions.
  • Identify malfunctioning equipment or devices.
  • Advocate for patients' and families' needs, or provide emotional support for patients and their families.
  • Perform approved therapeutic or diagnostic procedures, based upon patients' clinical status.
  • Identify patients at risk of complications due to nutritional status.
  • Assess patients' psychosocial status and needs, including areas such as sleep patterns, anxiety, grief, anger, and support systems.
  • Assess family adaptation levels and coping skills to determine whether intervention is needed.
  • Ensure that equipment or devices are properly stored after use.
  • Coordinate patient care conferences.
  • Identify patients' age-specific needs and alter care plans as necessary to meet those needs.
  • Supervise and monitor unit nursing staff.
  • Participate in professional organizations and continuing education to improve practice knowledge and skills.
  • Participate in the development, review, or evaluation of nursing practice protocols.
  • Plan, provide, or evaluate educational programs for nursing staff, interdisciplinary health care team members, or community members.
  • Provide post-mortem care.
Work Context
  • Telephone — 100% responded "Every day".
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 95% responded "Every day".
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections — 95% responded "Every day".
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 85% responded "Every day".
  • Physical Proximity — 75% responded "Very close (near touching)".
  • Consequence of Error — 85% responded "Extremely serious".
  • Contact With Others — 75% responded "Constant contact with others".
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Work Activities
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
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Detailed Work Activities
  • Develop medical treatment plans.
  • Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.
  • Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
  • Administer blood or other fluids intravenously.
  • Administer non-intravenous medications.
  • Administer intravenous medications.
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Knowledge

Medicine and Dentistry
  • Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Psychology
  • Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Biology
  • Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
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Skills

Active Listening
  • Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Service Orientation
  • Actively looking for ways to help people.
Reading Comprehension
  • Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking
  • Talking to others to convey information effectively.
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Abilities

Speech Clarity
  • The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Inductive Reasoning
  • The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Deductive Reasoning
  • The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Problem Sensitivity
  • The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
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Personality

People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Achievement/Effort
  • Persistence
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Cooperation
  • Concern for Others
  • Social Orientation
  • Self Control
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Technology

You might use software like this on the job:

Human resources software
  • Oracle Taleo Hot Technology
Medical software
  • Epic Systems Hot Technology
  • MEDITECH software Hot Technology
  • Texas Medical Software SpringCharts EMR
  • SynaMed EMR
  • StatCom Patient Flow Logistics Enterprise Suite
  • SOAPware EMR
  • NextGen Healthcare Information Systems EMR
  • MicroFour PracticeStudio.NET EMR
  • Medscribbler Enterprise
  • MEDITECH Healthcare Information System HCIS
  • GE Healthcare Centricity EMR
  • eClinicalWorks
  • e-MDs software
  • ChartWare EMR
  • Cerner Millennium
  • Bizmatics PrognoCIS EMR System
  • Amkai AmkaiCharts
  • Allscripts Professional EHR
Office suite software
  • Google Drive Hot Technology
  • Microsoft Office Hot Technology
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