Nurse tending patient in intensive care

Critical Care Nursing

Learn More about Critical Care Nursing

Critical care nurses are found at the bedsides of patients needing immediate or constant medical attention or whose condition is very fragile. These patients are often at risk for severe complications and possibly death, so even small changes must be recorded and communicated to doctors and other health care providers. Critical care nurses can specialize in treating adults, children, or babies.

Preparation Path

Attain a BSN

Pass the NCLEX and become an RN

Work as an RN for two years in critical care

Earn your critical care nursing certification

Typical Tasks

  • Administering medicines
  • Assisting with procedures and treatments
  • Comforting patients and families and answering their questions
  • Performing tests and interpreting results
  • Consulting with doctors and communicating information back to patients and their families
  • Maintaining the clinical record and medical history of the patient
  • Making important decisions on behalf of the patient as quickly as possible

Employment Settings

  • Hospitals, especially Intensive Care Units (ICUs)
  • Nursing homes
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Flight and medical evacuation/transport units
  • Accident units

Annual Salary Range

$69,400 – $91,800


RN, plus Critical Care Nursing Certification

Education Requirements


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Interested in taking the next step toward becoming a critical care nurse?