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Career Details

29-1141.03 - Critical Care Nurses

Provide specialized nursing care for patients in critical or coronary care units.

Key Facts
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Career Details
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Current Employment
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The tasks listed below can be performed to prepare you for a career in this field.
  • Identify patients' age-specific needs and alter care plans as necessary to meet those needs.
  • Provide post-mortem care.
  • Evaluate patients' vital signs or laboratory data to determine emergency intervention needs.
  • Perform approved therapeutic or diagnostic procedures, based upon patients' clinical status.
  • Administer blood and blood products, monitoring patients for signs and symptoms related to transfusion reactions.
  • Administer medications intravenously, by injection, orally, through gastric tubes, or by other methods.
  • Advocate for patients' and families' needs, or provide emotional support for patients and their families.
  • Set up and monitor medical equipment and devices such as cardiac monitors, mechanical ventilators and alarms, oxygen delivery devices, transducers, or pressure lines.
  • Monitor patients' fluid intake and output to detect emerging problems, such as fluid and electrolyte imbalances.
  • Monitor patients for changes in status and indications of conditions such as sepsis or shock and institute appropriate interventions.
  • Assess patients' pain levels or sedation requirements.
  • Assess patients' psychosocial status and needs, including areas such as sleep patterns, anxiety, grief, anger, and support systems.
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to develop and revise treatment plans, based on identified needs and assessment data.
  • Collect specimens for laboratory tests.
  • Compile and analyze data obtained from monitoring or diagnostic tests.
  • Conduct pulmonary assessments to identify abnormal respiratory patterns or breathing sounds that indicate problems.
  • Document patients' medical histories and assessment findings.
  • Document patients' treatment plans, interventions, outcomes, or plan revisions.
  • Identify patients at risk of complications due to nutritional status.
  • Prioritize nursing care for assigned critically ill patients, based on assessment data or identified needs.
  • Assist physicians with procedures such as bronchoscopy, endoscopy, endotracheal intubation, or elective cardioversion.
  • Ensure that equipment or devices are properly stored after use.
  • Identify malfunctioning equipment or devices.
  • Assess family adaptation levels and coping skills to determine whether intervention is needed.
  • Coordinate patient care conferences.
  • Participate in professional organizations and continuing education to improve practice knowledge and skills.
  • Participate in the development, review, or evaluation of nursing practice protocols.
  • Plan, provide, or evaluate educational programs for nursing staff, interdisciplinary health care team members, or community members.
  • Supervise and monitor unit nursing staff.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The items listed below are organized into sections that contain knowledge useful for pursuing a career in this field. Each section also contains a "Percentage of Importance" statistic that shows how relevant an item is to the occupation.
 Medicine and Dentistry
  • 95%
    Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
 Customer and Personal Service
  • 84%
    Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • 82%
    Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
 English Language
  • 82%
    Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 78%
    Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • 76%
    Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
 Education and Training
  • 74%
    Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
 Therapy and Counseling
  • 74%
    Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
 Sociology and Anthropology
  • 65%
    Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • 63%
    Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
 Public Safety and Security
  • 63%
    Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
 Computers and Electronics
  • 60%
    Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
 Administration and Management
  • 59%
    Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
 Philosophy and Theology
  • 53%
    Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
 Law and Government
  • 53%
    Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
 Communications and Media
  • 50%
    Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The tools listed below include machines, equipment, tools, and software that is useful for individuals who are interested in this career.
 Specimen collection and transport containers and supplies
  • Lancets
  • Tourniquets
  • Evacuated blood collection tubes
  • Specimen collection containers
 Medical staff clothing and related articles
  • Protective face shields
  • Protective medical face masks
  • Protective gowns
 Medical gloves and accessories
  • Medical examination protective gloves
 Electrotherapy equipment
  • Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation TENS equipment
 Floor grade instruments
  • Straight hemostats
 Heat and cold therapy products
  • Cooling blankets
  • Hyper/hypothermia blankets
  • Ice collars
 Hydrotherapy products
  • Therapeutic whirlpool baths
 Medical suction and vacuum products
  • Nasal suctioning equipment
  • Oral suctioning equipment
  • Tracheal suctioning equipment
 Injection and aspiration needles and accessories
  • Epidural catheters
  • Pericardiocentesis kits
  • Thoracentesis trays
 Syringes and accessories
  • Bulb syringes
  • Hypodermic syringes
  • Blood drawing syringes
 Urological supplies
  • Urinary catheters
 Vascular and compression therapy equipment and supplies
  • Sequential compression devices
  • Pneumatic boots
 Emergency medical services resuscitation products
  • Automated external defibrillators AED
 Blood pressure units and related products
  • Blood pressure monitors
  • Sphygmomanometers
 Electrocardiography EKG units and related products
  • Electrocardiography EKG machines
  • Telemetry monitors
 Pulse oximeters
  • Pulse oximeters
 Acute care monitoring units and related products
  • Fetal monitors
  • Intracranial pressure monitors
  • Cardiac monitors
  • Hemodynamic monitors
  • Transport cardiac monitors
 Medical thermometers and accessories
  • Digital medical thermometers
 Medical weight scales
  • Bed scales
  • Medical scales
 Patient beds and accessories
  • Clinical trapeze traction bars
  • Specialty patient care beds
 Patient transport products
  • Medical gurneys
  • Geriatric chairs
  • Wheelchairs
  • Transfer boards
 Patient lifts
  • Hoyer lifts
 Medication dispensing and measuring devices and supplies
  • Automated medicine dispensing equipment
 Medical ultrasound and doppler and echo imaging products
  • Doppler ultrasound equipment
  • Echocardiogram equipment
  • Ultrasound transducers
 Cardiac pacemakers and related products
  • Transcutaneous pacemakers
  • Transvenous pacemakers
 Intravenous and arterial cannulas and catheters and accessories
  • Arterial line catheters
  • Multiple lumen central line catheters
  • Intravenous IV administration sets
 Intravenous infusion pumps and its analyzers and sensors and its accessories
  • Intravenous infusion pumps
  • Multiple line infusion pumps
  • Patient controlled analgesia PCA pumps
 Nasoenteric tubes
  • Nasogastric tubes
 Casting and splinting supplies
  • Orthopedic splinting equipment
 Orthopedic traction supplies and accessories
  • Crutchfield tongs
  • Halo traction equipment
  • Traction weights
 Rehabilitation exercise devices and equipment
  • Continuous passive motion CPM equipment
 Respiratory monitoring products
  • Apnea monitors
  • Arterial blood gas testing equipment
  • End tidal carbon dioxide monitors or supplies
 Oxygen therapy delivery systems and devices
  • Oxygen concentrators
  • Oxygen flowmeters
  • Oxygen delivery masks
  • Medical nasal cannulae
 Respiratory humidity and aerosol therapy products
  • Electronic compressor nebulizers
  • Handheld nebulizers
 Airway management products
  • Endotracheal ET tubes
  • Tracheotomy sets
 Intubation supplies
  • Flexible laryngoscopes
  • Intubation sets
 Positive mechanical pressure ventilators and accessories
  • Mechanical intermittent positive pressure ventilators
  • Continuous positive airway pressure CPAP ventilators
  • Bilevel positive airway pressure BiPAP ventilators
 Resuscitation supplies
  • Manual resuscitation bags
 Surgical cutting instruments and snares and related products
  • Surgical scalpels
  • Straight surgical scissors
 Autotransfusion products
  • Autotransfusion systems
 Open heart perfusion equipment and monitors and accessories and related products
  • Intra-aortic balloon pumps IABP
  • Venous Oxygen Saturation SVO2 monitors
  • Ventricular assist devices VAD
  • Laptop computers
  • Personal digital assistants PDA
  • Desktop computers
  • Tablet computers
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The technologies listed below include machines, equipment, tools, and software that is useful for individuals who are interested in this career.
 Business function specific software
  • Oracle TaleoHOT
  • Microsoft SharePointHOT
  • Google DriveHOT
  • Microsoft OfficeHOT
 Data management and query software
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses AACN Medicopeia
  • PEPID RN Critical Care RNCC
 Industry specific software
  • Allscripts Professional EHR
  • Amkai AmkaiCharts
  • Bizmatics PrognoCIS EMR System
  • Cerner Millennium
  • ChartWare EMR
  • Epic SystemsHOT
  • GE Healthcare Centricity EMR
  • MEDITECH Healthcare Information System HCIS
  • MEDITECH softwareHOT
  • Medscribbler Enterprise
  • MicroFour PracticeStudio.NET EMR
  • NextGen Healthcare Information Systems EMR
  • SOAPware EMR
  • StatCom Patient Flow Logistics Enterprise Suite
  • SynaMed EMR
  • Texas Medical Software SpringCharts EMR
  • e-MDs software
  • eClinicalWorks
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The certifications listed below are useful to pursue if you are interested in a career in this field.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The licensing information below is organized into sections and is useful for pursuing if you are interested in a career in this field.
No specific licensing information is listed for this occupation in the area you have selected.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
Related Programs
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Programs related to this career, offered by participating institution(s), are listed below.

Clicking on the Degree programs in the list below will take you away from the Careers page.
Blue Ridge Community College
Bluefield University
Brightpoint Community College
Central Virginia Community College
Danville Community College
Eastern Mennonite University
George Mason University
Germanna Community College
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College
James Madison University
Laurel Ridge Community College
Longwood University
Marymount University
Mountain Empire Community College
Mountain Gateway Community College
New River Community College
Norfolk State University
Northern Virginia Community College
Old Dominion University
Patrick & Henry Community College
Paul D. Camp Community College
Piedmont Virginia Community College
Radford University
Rappahannock Community College
Shenandoah University
Southside Virginia Community College
Southwest Virginia Community College
The University of Virginia's College at Wise
Tidewater Community College
University of Mary Washington
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Highlands Community College
Virginia Peninsula Community College
Virginia Wesleyan University
Virginia Western Community College
Wytheville Community College
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