How to Become Icu Nurse

What is an ICU nurse?

These professionals are also known as Critical Care Registered Nurses (CCRNs) and are responsible for the mental and physical health of patients with chronic diseases. They also work with physicians and doctors to prevent the onset and spread of deadly diseases in the hospital.

CCRNs are Registered Nurses who undergo additional training in order to fulfill their duties. If you are interested in this particular career path, read on to learn how you can acquire the training you need.


In order to become an ICU nurse, you will first have to complete training to become a Registered Nurse. This can be done by enrolling into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

These degrees are four-year long programs that train students to become better leaders and effective problem-solvers in the workplace in addition to the curriculum. Students enrolled will learn how to develop a comprehensive treatment plan which can address the patient’s concern. They will also learn how to communicate effectively in the workplace with patients and peers alike.

Coursework for a BSN degree comprises a combination of social sciences, medicine, nursing, and mathematics. Students can be expected to take a variety of courses like Anatomy, Statistics, Nursing Practices for Adults, and Psychology in a single semester. The aim of this combination is to help students:

-          Become more compassionate in their dealings with patients and their families

-          Analyze information quickly to arrive at a timely diagnoses

-          Become aware of the best practices in nursing and how to modify them based on the patient they deal with

-          Assume more responsibility in the workplace, and act responsibly in a professional environment


Once you complete the BSN program, you will have to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This test will evaluate your readiness for the professional world, and grant you authority to practice your profession legally within the United States.

The next step to becoming an ICU nurse is to gain employment as an RN, and work at least two years in an intensive or critical care unit. By gaining practical experience, you will become prepared to take the critical care nursing certification exam. The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACCN) administers this exam, and clearing it will allow you to work as a full-time CCRN.


An ICU Nurse falls under the Registered Nurse umbrella. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for this profession in 2012 was $65,470, with growth in the field projected at 19% between 2012 and 2022. This equates to almost 530,000 new jobs. The exact salary will depend on your expertise, your employer, and your state. Gaining additional certification in resuscitation, or having experience in chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, or acute care patients significantly enhances your chances of securing a job.

The learning of an ICU nurse is ongoing. You must stay up to date with the latest practices and renew your certification regularly to stay ahead of the curve.



Ask an Expert

Q:What is the icu nurse salary and how do I prepare for this field?

A:ICU nurses are healthcare professionals who work in the intensive care unit of healthcare organizations. These nurses are qualified and skilled to take care of patients admitted in critical care. You can prepare for this field by acquiring a certification in ICU nursing and completing the necessary training hours. The salary will depend upon your job position and experience.

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