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What Are the Job Duties of a Critical Care RN?

A registered nurse (RN) who works with severely ill or injured patients is a critical care registered nurse. The following article explains the job duties of a critical care RN.

Career Overview

A critical care registered nurse (RN) treats patients who are seriously ill or injured. They usually work in the intensive care units of hospitals and are often more experienced than nurses who work in other units. The following list highlights some of the job duties of a critical care RN:

  • Manage and monitor patient care
  • Supervise medicine administration
  • Provide direct patient care
  • Complete all required documentation

Important Facts About Critical Care Nursing

Similar Occupations Physician Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, Nurse Practitioner
Key Skills Emotional stability, physical stamina, compassion, and organizational skills
Required Education A Bachelor of Science in Nursing, associate's in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program
Licensure Granted by passing the National Council Licensing Examination

Monitor Patient Care

One main duty of critical care RNs is to monitor and manage other medical staff members who work with critically ill or injured patients. Critical care RNs must closely monitor the level of care and attention their patients receive to ensure that their patients' condition is stable.

Supervise Medicine Administration

Critical care RNs are responsible for making sure patients in critical or intensive care units receive the correct medications. They must supervise the types of medicine, times that the medicine is given, and the dosage to ensure correctness of medicine administration. Any error could have dire consequences for the patients.

Provide Direct Patient Care

In many hospital units, certified nursing aides and other staff members often spend more time with the patients than RNs do. Critical care RNs often provide more direct care to the patients than nurses in other units to make sure the patients receive the required level of care.

Complete All Required Documentation

Critical care RNs must thoroughly document and save information about patient care. Critical care RNs record the type and dosage of medication given and the time it is administered. Additionally, they note patients' vital signs like temperature, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.

Employment and Salary Outlook Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) the employment of all types of registered nurses, including those specializing in critical care, is projected to increase at a faster-than-average rate of 7% when compared to other occupations, from 2019 to 2029. The median salary earned by RNs in general was published as $73,300 in May 2019 by the BLS.