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Essentials of ICU Training for RNs

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A Critical Care Nurse or Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurse is one that cares for patients needing critical care. These patients vary from post-surgical patients, newborn babies, or patients having chronic or acute illnesses and injuries needing special and intensive monitoring and attention. However, not all registered nurses can become ICU Nurses. To become one, a nurse should undergo specialized training for ICU Nurses.

ICU Nurse Roles and Responsibilies

The scope of the roles and responsibilities of ICU nurses include close monitoring of patients' vital signs every 15 or 30 minutes. ICU Nurses must also be mechanically and technically adept in operating life support and cardiac monitoring systems. They also need to administer medications through intravenous line or injections.

Furthermore, they need to perform other basic nursing skills such as changing urinary catheters and wound dressings; turning the patients to side every 2 hours; bed baths and hygienic care to patients, especially the bedridden ones; and to provide emotional support to the significant others of the patient. One important aspect for ICU Nurses is to know how to communicate therapeutically and provide relevant heath teachings to the family.

How to become an ICU RN?

To qualify to become an ICU Nurse, you must become a state-licensed nurse (RN). Registered nurses do not necessarily require completion of a 4-year BSN degree. Undergoing a 2-year associate's degree in nursing (and) can also be an alternative path. Apply and pass the NCLEX-RN in your state to become a Registered Nurse.

Seek out ICU Training courses for RNs in your area. It is important to note that most ICU Training education opportunities are provided through an employer. However, other educational opportunities for ICU Training for RNs are also provided by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

Once completing the specialized training for ICU RNs, certification is an optional choice. To qualify for certification, once must comply with the minimum number of working hours of 1,750 or equivalent to approximately 2 years of actual work experience in critical-care unit patient care facilities. Although not necessary, becoming a Certified Critical-care RN (CCRN) can help you gain better job opportunities.

Specialization Areas of ICU Nurses

CCRNs may opt to undergo advanced trainings on critical-care after completion of their ICU RN Training course. Sub specialties in critical-care nursing include neonatal, pediatric, and adult intensive care nursing practice.

Career Outlook for ICU Nurses

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment opportunities for registered nurses is estimated to climb up to 22 percent until the year 2018. Career openings in the critical-care field in hospitals and other medical facilities are significantly high due to the increased demand for ICU Nurses in many cinical areas. Consequently, many facilities give generous incentives to ICU nurses to attract RNs.Furthermore, recent statistics show that the annual income for CCRNs or ICU Nurses reach up to approximately $68,000-70,000 in the United States setting.

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