What Do Critical Care Nurses Do: Job Description, Responsibilities and Duties

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daily life of a Critical Care Nurse
are Critical Care Nurses happy with their job

Critical Care Nurses

Other names for this job might include Burn Center Nurse, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Registered Nurse, Catheterization Laboratory Senior Manager (Cath Lab Senior Manager), Critical Care Nurse, Critical Care Nurse Practitioner, Critical Care Nurse Specialist, Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN), Critical Care Unit Manager, Critical Care Unit Nurse, ICU Staff Nurse (Intensive Care Unit Staff Nurse)

  • $71000
  • 74%
    Job satisfaction
  • Medium
    Becoming one
  • High
    Job growth
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Being A Critical Care Nurse: What You Really Do

In this job description guide, you will find out what do Critical Care Nurses do and what is their typical work day like.

After reading this, you will have a much better idea on whether you will like working as a Critical Care Nurse or not.

Job summary

Critical Care Nurses provide advanced nursing care for patients in critical or coronary care units.

We asked Critical Care Nurses how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction


How meaningful is this job


74% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 82% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.

Become one

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Typical day

On a daily basis, Critical Care Nurses Identify patients’ age-specific needs and alter care plans as necessary to meet those needs. They Evaluate patients’ vital signs or laboratory data to determine emergency intervention needs.

1 of the main responsibilities as A Critical Care Nurse is to Perform approved therapeutic or diagnostic procedures based upon patients’ clinical status.

Some may also Administer medications intravenously, by injection, orally, through gastric tubes, or by other methods.

In a normal work day, another thing that Critical Care Nurses do is they Advocate for patients’ and families’ needs, or provide emotional support for patients and their families.

In addition to that, they Set up and monitor medical equipment and devices such as cardiac monitors, mechanical ventilators and alarms, oxygen delivery devices, transducers, or pressure lines..

A typical day for A Critical Care Nurse look like this:

Develop medical treatment plans.
Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.

We asked some Critical Care Nurses a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?100% said yes
Do you have to use email everyday in this job?80% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?75% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?95% said yes
Do you have to meet strict deadlines everyday in this job?60% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?50% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?20% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?65% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides the “typical day” things that Critical Care Nurses do, they Administer blood and blood products, monitoring patients for signs and symptoms related to transfusion reactions. They might also Assist physicians with procedures such as bronchoscopy, endoscopy, endotracheal intubation, or elective cardioversion.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Critical Care Nurses Participate in professional organizations and continuing education to improve practice knowledge and skills.

A typical week or month for them might include:

Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
Administer blood or other fluids intravenously.
Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments.
Maintain medical or professional knowledge.

Working life

Working hours

40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular (Set schedule and routine)

In a typical work week as A Critical Care Nurse, you can expect to work 40 hours per week.

Do Critical Care Nurses work in an office-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Critical Care Nurses work in a warehouse-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Critical Care Nurses work outdoors?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Helpers and The Thinkers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

You will like this career if you are someone who likes working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

You also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

How we can help

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Rank: A+
Salary: $69790

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Rank: A
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They assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required.
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They assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.
Rank: B+
Salary: $43420

They care for ill, injured, or convalescing patients or persons with disabilities in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
Rank: A
Salary: $55210

They conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary functions, lung capacity, and similar tests. Includes vascular technologists.

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Career type

Healthcare and Medical
Therapeutic Services

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Related to Critical Care Nurses Job Description

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Additional resources

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