How Do You Become an ICU Nurse?

ICU nurseTo become an ICU nurse, you need to be able to make split-second life threatening decisions while remaining calm. If you can work in this high pressure environment, there is a high demand for you in several different medical settings across the United States. All nurses who work in Intensive Care Units must meet minimum qualification requirements before they will be granted the title. If you would like to work in this fast-paced position, where you will be rewarded by experiences and benefits, here is your guide to becoming an ICU nurse.

Earn Your Nursing Degree and Your License

After completing high school, the first requirement is to earn your Bachelor of Nursing degree. You may be able to replace this requirements by taking an accredited Registered Nurse program. Once you have completed your general nursing training, you are required by your state to pass a state licensing exam to prove that you are competent in the field. You should verify whether or not there are additional requirements prior to applying for this exam.

Get Certified to Earn More Skills

It is very important that you take the time to observe an ICU unit before you commit your time to earning special certifications. ICU nurses have high pressure job duties that many other nurses do not. If you can deal with the pressure, you will need to verify your work skills by earning special certifications that pertain to the field. Some of the certifications that an ICU nurse needs include: Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Trauma Nursing Course Certified, Basic Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and Certified Critical Care RN, according to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. The more of these certifications that you have, the better chances you have of being hired on as an entry-level ICU specialist.

Choose Which Setting You Would Like to Work In

Once you possess a license and you have all of the certifications that you need to be considered a specialist, it is time to decide which setting you want to work in. There is a high demand for ICU nursing professionals at all levels in many of the settings where these specialists are employed. If you are a specialized nurse that is trained to work in critical care settings, you may be able to find job in: hospitals, clinics, acute care facilities, nurse facilities, hospice settings, healthcare facilities, critical care units and more. Be sure that you are dedicated to observing professionals in these settings before you decide which is best for you. This can also help you decide if you would like to pursue a sub-specialty by earning your advanced certifications in an area of expertise.

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Salaries in this field of nursing range between $74,089 and $109,113 annually, with the average nurse earning $68,111. With demand on the rise and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting the addition of over 580,000 jobs by 2018, this is a great specialty to pursue for the right candidate. If you are looking for a rewarding position with a positive outlook and a good salary range, critical care nursing may be an option to put on your list. Start comparing training and certification programs, and enroll in the best program. Once you do this, you can become an ICU nurse by observing and showing your value.