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Become A Registered Nurse In The ICU

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Working As A Registered Nurse In The ICU

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $67,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Registered Nurse In The ICU Do

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.

Duties

Registered nurses typically do the following:

  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Administer patients’ medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
  • Observe patients and record the observations
  • Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatment

Most registered nurses work as part of a team with physicians and other healthcare specialists. Some registered nurses oversee licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides.

Registered nurses’ duties and titles often depend on where they work and the patients they work with. For example, an oncology nurse may work with cancer patients or a geriatric nurse may work with elderly patients. Some registered nurses combine one or more areas of practice. For example, a pediatric oncology nurse works with children and teens who have cancer.

Many possibilities for working with specific patient groups exist. The following list includes just a few examples:

Addiction nurses care for patients who need help to overcome addictions to alcohol, drugs, and other substances.

Cardiovascular nurses care for patients with heart disease and people who have had heart surgery.

Critical care nurses work in intensive-care units in hospitals, providing care to patients with serious, complex, and acute illnesses and injuries that need very close monitoring and treatment.

Genetics nurses provide screening, counseling, and treatment for patients with genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.

Neonatology nurses take care of newborn babies.

Nephrology nurses care for patients who have kidney-related health issues stemming from diabetes, high blood pressure, substance abuse, or other causes.

Rehabilitation nurses care for patients with temporary or permanent disabilities.

Registered nurses may work to promote public health, by educating people on warning signs and symptoms of disease or managing chronic health conditions. They may also run health screenings, immunization clinics, blood drives, or other community outreach programs. Other nurses staff the health clinics in schools.

Some nurses do not work directly with patients, but they must still have an active registered nurse license. For example, they may work as nurse educators, healthcare consultants, public policy advisors, researchers, hospital administrators, salespeople for pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, or as medical writers and editors.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). They provide direct patient care in one of many nursing specialties, such as psychiatric-mental health or pediatrics. CNSs also provide indirect care, by working with other nurses and various other staff to improve the quality of care that patients receive. They often serve in leadership roles and may educate and advise other nursing staff. CNSs also may conduct research and may advocate for certain policies.

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How To Become A Registered Nurse In The ICU

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses also must be licensed.

Education

In all nursing education programs, students take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. BSN programs typically take 4 years to complete; ADN and diploma programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete. All programs include supervised clinical experience.

Bachelor’s degree programs usually include additional education in the physical and social sciences, communication, leadership, and critical thinking. These programs also offer more clinical experience in nonhospital settings. A bachelor’s degree or higher is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.

Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs (bachelor’s, associate’s, or diploma) qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse. However, employers—particularly those in hospitals—may require a bachelor’s degree.

Many registered nurses with an ADN or diploma choose to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree through an RN-to-BSN program. There are also master’s degree programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, and accelerated programs for those who wish to enter the nursing profession and already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) must earn a master’s degree in nursing and typically already have 1 or more years of work experience as an RN or in a related field. CNSs who conduct research typically need a doctoral degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, registered nurses must have a nursing license. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Other requirements for licensing vary by state. Each state’s board of nursing can give details. For more information on the NCLEX-RN and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Nurses may become certified through professional associations in specific areas, such as ambulatory care, gerontology, and pediatrics, among others. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a higher standard, and some employers require it.

CNSs must satisfy additional state licensing requirements, such as earning specialty certifications. Contact state boards of nursing for specific requirements.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Registered nurses must be able to assess changes in the health status of patients, including determining when to take corrective action and when to make referrals.

Communication skills. Registered nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients in order to understand their concerns and assess their health conditions. Nurses need to explain instructions, such as how to take medication, clearly. They must be able to work in teams with other health professionals and communicate the patients’ needs.

Compassion. Registered nurses should be caring and empathetic when caring for patients.

Detail oriented. Registered nurses must be responsible and detail oriented because they must make sure that patients get the correct treatments and medicines at the right time.

Emotional stability. Registered nurses need emotional resilience and the ability to manage their emotions to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses.

Organizational skills. Nurses often work with multiple patients with various health needs. Organizational skills are critical to ensure that each patient is given appropriate care.

Physical stamina. Nurses should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as moving patients. They may be on their feet for most of their shift.

Advancement

Most registered nurses begin as staff nurses in hospitals or community health settings. With experience, good performance, and continuous education, they can move to other settings or be promoted to positions with more responsibility.

In management, nurses can advance from assistant clinical nurse manager, charge nurse, or head nurse to more senior-level administrative roles, such as assistant director or director of nursing, vice president of nursing, or chief nursing officer. Increasingly, management-level nursing positions are requiring a graduate degree in nursing or health services administration. Administrative positions require leadership, communication skills, negotiation skills, and good judgment.

Some nurses move into the business side of healthcare. Their nursing expertise and experience on a healthcare team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care businesses. Employers—including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, among others—need registered nurses for jobs in health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance.

Some RNs choose to become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners, which, along with clinical nurse specialists, are types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs may provide primary and specialty care, and in many states they may prescribe medications.

Other nurses work as postsecondary teachers in colleges and universities.

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Registered Nurse In The ICU Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Staff Nurse 5.9 years
Registered Nurse 5.2 years
Head Nurse 4.2 years
Trauma Nurse 3.5 years
Top Careers Before Registered Nurse In The ICU
Staff Nurse 17.6%
Nurse 2.7%
Top Careers After Registered Nurse In The ICU
Staff Nurse 13.9%
Nurse 4.1%

Do you work as a Registered Nurse In The ICU?

Registered Nurse In The ICU Demographics

Gender

Female

81.1%

Male

17.3%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

63.2%

Hispanic or Latino

13.4%

Black or African American

12.1%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.8%

French

5.4%

Swedish

3.1%

Vietnamese

3.1%

German

3.1%

Ukrainian

2.3%

Italian

2.3%

Portuguese

2.3%

Chinese

2.3%

Arabic

2.3%

Russian

1.6%

Greek

1.6%

Navajo

1.6%

Dakota

1.6%

Hindi

0.8%

Mandarin

0.8%

Korean

0.8%

Bosnian

0.8%

Norwegian

0.8%

Urdu

0.8%
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Registered Nurse In The ICU Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.8%

Walden University

11.6%

Grand Canyon University

11.2%

University of Texas at Arlington

7.0%

Chamberlain College of Nursing

6.0%

University of South Alabama

5.8%

South University

5.3%

Western Governors University

3.7%

Liberty University

3.7%

Ohio University -

3.4%

Kaplan University

3.1%

University of South Florida

2.7%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

2.7%

Excelsior College

2.6%

University of Alabama

2.4%

University of Cincinnati

2.4%

Eastern Kentucky University

2.4%

American Sentinel University - Aurora

2.4%

Indiana Wesleyan University

2.4%

Georgetown University

2.3%
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Majors

Nursing

83.7%

Family Practice Nursing

3.5%

Business

2.9%

Nursing Science

2.4%

Health Care Administration

1.5%

Education

1.1%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

0.8%

Psychology

0.5%

Management

0.5%

Biology

0.4%

Medical Technician

0.4%

Clinical Psychology

0.4%

Nursing Assistants

0.3%

Public Health

0.3%

Health Sciences And Services

0.2%

Pharmacy

0.2%

General Studies

0.2%

Elementary Education

0.2%

Medicine

0.2%

Information Systems

0.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.7%

Masters

27.0%

Associate

21.7%

Other

8.5%

Doctorate

2.4%

Certificate

1.8%

Diploma

1.6%

License

0.3%
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Real Registered Nurse In The ICU Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
ICU Registered Nurse Cambridge Global Services Inc. Mather, CA Oct 01, 2009 $74,944
Neonatal ICU-RN Albert Einstein Healthcare Network Philadelphia, PA Nov 01, 2011 $73,045
ICU Registered Nurse Cambridge Global Services Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2009 $72,899
Registered Nurse-Icu Alta Hospitals System, LLC Los Angeles, CA Mar 13, 2012 $71,104
ICU Registered Nurse Cambridge Global Services Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2009 $70,645
ICU Registered Nurse Cambridge Global Services Inc. San Diego, CA Oct 01, 2009 $70,499
Registered Nurse, Pediatric ICU Christus Health Santa Rosa San Antonio, TX Nov 01, 2016 $66,596 -
$68,036
Registered Nurse Neonatal ICU Children's Hospital Colorado Colorado Springs, CO Mar 30, 2013 $64,697
ICU Registered Nurse Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital Alexandria, LA Feb 01, 2015 $64,230
ICU Registered Nurse Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital Alexandria, LA Sep 01, 2014 $64,230
ICU Registered Nurse Houston Rehabilitation Associates Houston, TX Oct 01, 2010 $63,987
ICU Registered Nurse Houston Rehabilitation Associates Houston, TX Oct 01, 2009 $63,987
ICU RN Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital Houston, TX Oct 01, 2009 $63,987
ICU Registered Nurse The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital Torrington, CT Oct 01, 2009 $58,436
Registered Nurse Specialist-ICU Professional Healthcare Associates, LLC Raton, NM Sep 15, 2010 $57,393
ICU Registered Nurse Cambridge Global Services Inc. Phoenix, AZ Oct 01, 2009 $55,827
Registered Nurse II, ICU St. Luke's Health System Boise, ID Jun 10, 2013 $55,713
ICU RN Cambridge Global Services Inc. Little Rock, AR Nov 01, 2009 $52,822

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Registered Nurse In The ICU

Average Yearly Salary
$67,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$52,000
Min 10%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Marshfield Clinic
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.6 years
How much does a Registered Nurse In The ICU make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Registered Nurse In The ICU in the United States is $67,827 per year or $33 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $52,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $87,000.

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Top Skills for A Registered Nurse In The ICU

  1. Patient Care
  2. IV
  3. Trauma
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Ensured documentation was appropriate for patient care and met guidelines for medical benefits following McKesson guidelines.
  • Provided effective counseling in health maintenance and disease management.
  • Managed and coordinated care of complex neurological trauma patients
  • Team Leader of 24 bed Intensive Care Unit Charge Nurse-made nurse assignment and made bed assignments for new patients.
  • Guaranteed quality total patient care to critically ill adults after bypass surgery, heart transplantation or left ventricular assist device implantation.

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Top 10 Best States for Registered Nurse In The ICUs

  1. Hawaii
  2. Alaska
  3. Oregon
  4. New York
  5. New Mexico
  6. Nevada
  7. Massachusetts
  8. New Hampshire
  9. New Jersey
  10. Rhode Island
  • (1,175 jobs)
  • (538 jobs)
  • (3,068 jobs)
  • (14,144 jobs)
  • (2,811 jobs)
  • (1,322 jobs)
  • (6,133 jobs)
  • (2,425 jobs)
  • (7,269 jobs)
  • (770 jobs)

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