One of the most challenging and rewarding careers, nurses play a crucial role in the care of patients experiencing illness or disability. While there are many nursing specialties, a certified critical care nurse works alongside a team of medical professionals responsible for one or more patients in critical condition. Discover the process of earning your certification and the ways in which this simple step can enhance your career.
What Does a Certified Critical Care Nurse Do?
Certified critical care nurses can work with adults, children, or seniors in a variety of hospital departments, from critical care cardiology to trauma units. Working as an important part of a medical team, critical care nurses provide ongoing monitoring of patients while adhering to detailed treatment plans. Compassion, a positive outlook, and ability to work in a fast-paced environment are necessary qualities when entering this field.
The Process of Critical Care Nurse Certification
The American Association of Critical Care Nurses developed the certification exam, which covers nursing topics in depth, and is responsible for awarding certification upon passing. Generally completed in two years, coursework material required to sit for the exam includes the following:
- Nursing practice and treatment planning as it pertains to critical care
- Medical conditions in each body system
- Advanced anatomy and physiology
- Thorough understanding of modern medical technology
- Study of clinical judgment and medical ethics
While not inclusive, the topics listed above comprise the majority of the certification exam’s content. Critical care nurses who begin their career with certification often choose to progress in the medical field by moving on to earn a 4-year or advanced degree in nursing. Gaining certification as a critical care nurse generally leads to a higher starting salary than nursing professionals without certification.
A Rewarding Profession with Endless Possibilities
Because the demand for skilled nurses is very high and expected to grow, entering the field with a certification in critical care nursing guarantees stable employment, above average income, and the flexibility to work anywhere in the U.S. — all while helping others. If you’re ready for a career that truly makes a difference while providing financial security, consider completing your certification as a critical care nurse.