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How to Become An Icu Nurse

Nurses are healthcare professionals with knowledge and skills to help the patients with different medical conditions. They also assist the physicians and other medical staff with various medical procedures. Different nurses have different job descriptions. An ICU nurse is specialized to provide nursing care to patients in critical conditions.  Other than performing treatment procedures, these nurses keep patients informed of their condition. They are highly specialized nurses who know how to operate advanced medical equipment such as EKG machines, defibrillators and ventilators.

How Long Does It Take to Become an ICU Nurse?

The first step is to earn a 2-year Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN), followed by a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), after which the person has to clear the national exam in order to practice as a Registered Nurse. After that, individuals are advised to gain as much experience as possible – they should try doing rotations in intensive care units, which can further improve their career prospects. They can also earn a certificate in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) in order to equip themselves with the skills required in intensive care units.

What Are the Requirements to Become an ICU Nurse?

The individual has to be a licensed Registered Nurse (RN) if he/she wants to work in an Intensive Care Unit. In order to become an RN, the individual has to earn an Associate’s degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While enrolled in the nursing program, students have to study a range of courses such as Pathophysiology, Health Assessment and Pharmacology.

After completing these degrees, they have to clear the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). They would then have to work as a traditional nurse for a few years before they can be considered for the position of an ICU Nurse. It is a good idea to check with your state’s board of nursing to find out about the specific requirements.

How Much Can I Make after Becoming an ICU Nurse?

As an ICU Nurse, individuals have work in various critical care settings such as emergency rooms and burn centers. O* Net Online has reported that Critical Care Nurses made an annual median pay of $71,730 in 2018. Their hourly median pay during that period was $34.48. Job prospects for these professionals look very bright – it has been forecasted that the job opportunities for Critical Care Nurses are likely to grow by 11% from 2018 to 2028. 

If you want to get into the field of ICU nursing, you will need to obtain the required degrees and licensure as required by your state.


How to Become ICU Nurses

To become ICU nurses the first step is to obtain a RN degree. You can enroll in associates or bachelors program in nursing and become a registered nurse. These programs are offered by both regular and online schools. Once you become a registered nurse, you must obtain a license as well. An associate’s degree can be completed in 2 years while a bachelors program in nursing requires 4 years to complete. If you take the online route, you can earn these degrees at your own pace. Some of the courses you will cover in nursing programs include ethics, medical terminology, patient care and anatomy and physiology. Other than classroom lessons, you will also undergo clinical experience in these programs.

You can also enroll in MSN program in nursing with specialization in critical care as well. In this advanced program, you will learn about advanced cardiac life support, clinical pathophysiology and trauma nursing. In addition, you will also complete research courses and participate in clinical experiences.

RNs and nurse practitioners can also opt for certifications offered by The American Association of Critical Care Nurses. The American Nurses Credentialing Center also offers Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification.

Career Prospects for Intensive Care Unit Nurses

Job opportunities for nurses are expected to grow by 22% over the next decade. This is why pursuing a career in the field of ICU nursing can lead you to promising career prospects within the healthcare industry. As an intensive care unit nurse, you will be able to work in hospitals within the ICU units and provide critical care to patients suffering from life threatening diseases and injuries.

On average, these nurses can earn about $65,000 per year. The salary of these professionals may vary by experience and job location.

Online nursing programs

There are a number of online schools that offer programs for aspiring ICU nurses. The online programs are highly suitable for students who reside in remote areas away from schools and colleges as well as working professionals who cannot attend regular classes due to their fixed work schedules. As the online programs are flexible, they allow students to earn a degree at their own pace. Students can enroll in them from any location and participate in group decisions online. They can also get in touch with the instructors over the internet and submit their assignments over the internet.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What is expected of an ICU nurse?

A:ICU nurse is one who needs to be fully aware of critical medical help as the patients who are in the Intensive Care Unit require attentive and competent staff. They must be able to manage the patients in critical situations, hence this job is a very demanding one. They must know advanced medical practices and should be able to operate EKG machines, defibrillators and other medical equipment.

Q:Tell me about ICU nursing jobs?

A:This is an area of nursing that always require well trained professionals. ICU nursing jobs require a lot of stamina and attentiveness as it caters to dealing with patients in critical health conditions. ICU nurses need to have advanced skills so that they can manage medical equipment efficiently and also assist doctors to carry out medical treatments.

Q:What is ICU nursing?

A:ICU nursing is a specialty that focuses on treating patients in the intensive care unit. ICU patients require extensive care and are often suffering from life-threatening injuries and illnesses. Nurses working in this department are trained and skilled to provide effective healthcare services to patients. ICU nursing requires highly qualified nurses who have acquired certifications and specialized education in the field.

Q:What education is needed for ICU nurses?

A:The first step towards becoming an ICU nurse is getting a nursing degree. It is recommended that you pursue a bachelor degree in nursing. This is a four-year undergraduate nursing program that will equip you with nursing knowledge and healthcare skills. You must also take the NCLEX-RN examination in your state to get a nursing license. Once you have acquired a nursing degree and a license, the next step is to choose an academic and training route to prepare for the role of an ICU nurse. The minimum training requirements will vary from state to state. You can specialize in critical care nursing and earn a certification in this field as well. The American Association of Critical Care Nurses offers certification in acute and critical care nursing. It is important that you find out what the minimum requirements are in your state. (Source: American Association of Critical Care Nurses)

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