Specific critical care nurse duties and responsibilities can include:
- Assessing a patient’s condition and planning and implementing patient care plans
- Treating wounds and providing advanced life support
- Assisting physicians in performing procedures
- Observing and recording patient vital signs
- Ensuring that ventilators, monitors and other types of medical equipment function properly
- Administering intravenous fluids and medications
- Ordering diagnostic tests
- Collaborating with fellow members of the critical care team
- Responding to life-saving situations, using nursing standards and protocols for treatment
- Acting as patient advocate
- Providing education and support to patient families
- Critical care nurses may also care for pre- and post-operative patients. In addition, some serve as case managers and policy makers, while others perform administrative duties.
Requirements and Qualifications for Critical Care Nurses
Critical care nurses must first be registered nurses (RNs) with experience in general patient care.
Critical care nurses work in emergency rooms, critical care wards, walk-in clinics, doctor offices and other healthcare settings. Because patients are treated around the clock, critical care nurses are usually required to work rotating shifts that include days, nights, weekends and holidays. The job can be physically demanding, as well, requiring standing, lifting, bending and stretching