An ICU nurse is responsible for the care and consideration of patients in a hospital’s intensive care unit. ICU nurses must be able to work in emergency situations, and they must possess enough knowledge to care for some of the sickest patients in a health care facility. This is not a predictable field of nursing to work in because every new patient will present new obstacles to overcome. If you feel that you can take on the challenge though, this career can be highly rewarding. Check out the ICU nurse job description below to figure out if you are fit for this line of work.
ICU Nurse Job Duties
The job duties of an ICU nurse will vary by location and employer, but there are some responsibilities that remain static across the board. As an ICU nurse, you will be responsible for ensuring that patients in the ICU are treated with the attention, respect, and kindness they deserve. This can translate into several job requirements, including:
- Setting up IVs for patients
- Administering medications to patients
- Inserting catheters into male and female patients
- Recording the vital signs of ICU patients
- Testing and monitoring life support equipment
- Assisting ICU doctors in day to day tasks
- Changing bed pans in the intensive care unit of a hospital
- Answering questions that may arise about patient care
The intensive care unit is a dynamic area of the hospital, so you will need to be able to adjust to new situations if you plan to work as an ICU nurse in the future. You will need to be able to multi-task and sympathize with the problems a patient is incurring, and you will need to be knowledgeable enough to answer any questions that a person may have about his or her condition. If you feel that you would be capable of doing that in the future, you may want to consider a job in ICU nursing.
ICU Nurse Salary Levels
As a whole, ICU nurses make more money than a lot of other nurses do. That is mainly because they work in such a specialized and complicated field of nursing. ICU nursing requires extensive training and knowledge, and it is not something that anyone can just roll into. As a result of this, the ICU nurse salary ranges in the country tend to be higher than those of other nursing professions. Listed below are some of the salary ranges in the country at this time, categorized based on the factors that influence them.
Salary by Years of Experience
- Less than 1 year: $39,663 – $70,121 per year
- 1-4 years: $30,000 – $77,567 per year
- 5-9 years: $23,672 – $91,230 per year
- 10-19 years: $38,390 – $100,414 per year
- 20 years or more: $48,165 – $94,351 per year
Salary by Certification
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support: $48,161 – $83,895 per year
- Basic Life Support: $51,667 – $69,624 per year
- Certified Critical Care Registered Nurse: $44,660 – $100,789 per year
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support: $53,981 – $68,400 per year
- Registered Nurse: $39,641 – $87,341 per year
- Trauma Nursing Course Certified: $60,476 – $73,250 per year
Salary by Industry
- Acute Care Hospital: $34,765 – $71,490 per year
- Armed Forces: $55,900 – $93,800 per year
- Healthcare: $30,926 – $90,830 per year
- Hospital: $40,474 – $87,585 per year
- Medical Services: $24,161 – $79,463 per year
- Nurse Staffing: $20,138 – $84,430 per year
You may not make a high salary when you first begin working as an intensive care nurse, but your income will grow considerably over time. As long as you have the appropriate education to move up in this career field, you should have no trouble securing a high income in the future. You just have to remain dedicated to the career and all the obstacles that may come along with it.
How to Become an ICU Nurse
If you feel that you are a fit candidate for intensive care nursing, you will need to get a bachelor of science in nursing. You may also need to go through a master’s degree program with an emphasis in ICU nursing, depending on where you plan to work. Once you have completed your BSN program, you will go through a licensure test to become a registered nurse. Then you will be able to work in a hospital with an open position in the intensive care unit.