RN job in Saratoga Springs, New York | $1,671.37 per Week | Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Room
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Learn What it Takes to Work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
Nurses who care for the sickest of patients must be highly-skilled and compassionate. An ICU nurse is one who works in the department of a healthcare facility or hospital where the most critical patients go. Patients in the ICU range from those who just came out of surgery to others who have rapidly deteriorating conditions. Patients in the intensive care units are so fragile that they require around-the-clock immediate care and supervision.
The critical care unit (CCU) is another term that is used for ICU. Nurses who work in CCU or ICU must have extensive knowledge of disease processes and highly specialized skills.
Nurses are the most trusted professional for nearly 20 years, and that trust really comes into play as family members and patients rely on ICU nurses to provide interventions and save lives. Do not confuse ICU nurses with emergency nurses who respond to crises and provide emergency care.
Where Do ICU Nurses & CNAs Land High-Paying Jobs?
Larger hospitals. Centralized hospitals. Teaching facilities. Hospitals and healthcare centers that provide intensive care services are always looking for talented nurses and assistants to pick up jobs. ICU nurses and assistants work almost exclusively within their unit during the entire duration of their PRN shift.
Nurses who work in ICU work alongside other trained professionals, such as doctors, therapists, radiologists, etc. There are many divisions of ICU, such as:
- Neonatal and pediatric ICU nurses work in departments with newborns and children.
- Psychiatric ICU nurses work in hospitals with psychiatric departments or in psychiatric hospitals with ICUs.
- Coronary ICU nurses work in hospitals, and particularly, on units that care for people with serious heart defects or diseases.
- Surgical ICU nurses work with patients who are pre or post-operative and in critical condition.
- General ICU nurses work in various intensive care units at hospitals and healthcare centers.
What Do ICU Nurses Do?
ICU nurses work in different sub-specialties within this area of nursing, but they are all specially-trained to respond to critically-ill patients. Nurses who work in this setting enjoy low staff-to-patient ratios, which allows them to devote their time exclusively to just one or two patients.
Nurses who work in intensive care units monitor and record the progress of their patients and they respond to their immediate medical needs. ICU nurse job duties may include the following:
- Recording patient health status
- Checking patient vital signs
- Performing or arranging for diagnostic tests
- Coordinating patient care with other healthcare providers
- Educating patients and their families
- Supervising LPNs and other nurses
Recommended Certifications for the ICU Nursing Specialty
To further your education and enhance your professional portfolio on our Nursa™ platform, here is a certification that, if you qualify for, would show potential employers your dedication to the specialty.
- Certification for Adult Critical Care Nurses (CCRN)
Important Qualities of an ICU Nurse
ICU nurses must possess an impressive set of skills, above and beyond those necessary for all nurses – namely – performing under pressure. Nurses who work in critical care need to excel at communication so that they can facilitate care with patients, family members, and other healthcare professionals.
Good ICU nurses are confident and are able to recognize problems, diagnose them, and execute an action in a timely manner. Creative problem solving and critical thinking are two important leadership skills for ICU nurses.