A critical care nurse is a registered nurse who has been specially trained and certified in the care and treatment of critically ill patients. Critical care nurses work in emergency rooms, cardiac units, recovery rooms, progressive care units, and intensive care units.
Before individuals can become critical care nurses, they must graduate from an accredited college or university with a nursing degree. Once a student has completed their nursing degree, received NCLEX-RN certification, and has at one year of working experience, they are eligible to study as a critical care nurse.
As you begin your graduate program, you'll notice courses build on your undergraduate education. Courses and clinical practice will give you additional insight into monitoring vital signs, setting up emergency medical equipment, and administering medication intravenously. Ideally, students have the option to work in several settings so they can determine if they'd like to specialize in adult, pediatric, or neonatal critical care nursing.
Critical care nursing is just one of more than 100 nursing specialties. Many critical care nurses go on to pursue additional certifications or return to school to pursue additional fields such as teaching.