Do You Have What It Takes To Become A Critical Care Nurse?

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Patients who are in critical condition are usually unconscious and unstable and often have erratic vital signs. More often than not, many of these patients would also possibly be close to death. The only chance these patients have of making it through their ordeal is if by getting highly specialised, diligent care.

Although physicians and specialists attend to the primary treatments and requirements of patients in critical condition, it is often the critical care nurse that attends to these patients’ daily needs.

First hold of newborn Understanding the Role of a Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses are also called ICU nurses. These professionals are highly trained to understand and provide care to patients who are in critical condition. Critical nurses may care for children or adults recovering from serious medical illnesses or injuries or they may undergo further specialisation and choose to work in wards or units that care for patients with specific medical problems, such as critical care burn units.

Most critical care nurses admit that this is a specialty that can be heart wrenching and emotionally draining. As a critical care nurse, you will often be faced with the harsh reality of losing patients despite your best efforts. If you are considering a career in this nursing specialty, you should be sure that you are capable of dealing with the loss of your patients in a fairly healthy manner.

ICU nurses are some of the most in demand nurses in this field. The stressful work environments and long hours often make this career extremely challenging, both physically as well as emotionally. It takes a very special type of person to be a successful critical care nurse.

Job Description of Critical Care Nurses

As a critical care nurse, you would essentially have the same basic duties and responsibilities as a traditional staff nurse or an emergency nurse. You would provide much of the basic care for patients in critical condition and assist physicians and specialists with treating these critical patients.

You would also be responsible for monitoring your critical patients. Since most of these patients would be literally fighting for their lives, you will have to be extra vigilant and may be required to take and record data such as vital signs and blood oxygen levels several times every hour.

Any change in your patients’ conditions, whether good or bad, should be promptly reported to their primary care physicians or your charge nurse, so their treatments can be adjusted according to their progress or decline. Sometimes, when time is of essence, especially if they are not responding favourably to a certain treatment, you may be called upon to evaluate patients quickly and possibly regulate their treatment yourself. You should also be skilled in using key life saving techniques and should also know how to use various life saving equipment.

Communicating with family members is another crucial aspect of the job. You will often be the one responsible for updating family on their loved one’s condition, explaining medical procedures and treatments, and at times even informing them of the worst.

The majority of critical care nurses work in hospitals with intensive and critical care units. Some may work as transport nurses, which involves accompanying patients in critical condition to a proper medical facility where they can get the specialised care they need.

Training Requirements

Most employers will only hire Registered Nurses (RN) for this position. Depending on the circumstances however, some healthcare facilities may also hire Licensed Practical Nurses. You would need to gain a few years experience as a traditional nurse before being considered for a position in critical care nursing.

Education and training are not the only requirements that you will need to have if you are looking to become a critical care nurse. You should also have excellent communication skills as well as the ability to evaluate patients and make decisions quickly.

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