Critical Care Nurses

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About the Job

Provide advanced nursing care for patients in critical or coronary care units.

It is also Called

  • Vascular Nurse
  • Telemetry Nurse
  • Step-Down Nurse
  • Staff Nurse, ICU Resource Team (Staff Nurse, Intensive Care Unit Resource Team)
  • Staff Nurse
  • Registered Nurse Supervisor (RN Supervisor)
  • Progressive Care Nurse
  • Pediatric Critical Care Nurse
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
  • Neonatal Critical Care Nurse
View All

What They Do

  • Provide post-mortem care.
  • Plan, provide, or evaluate educational programs for nursing staff, interdisciplinary health care team members, or community members.
  • Participate in the development, review, or evaluation of nursing practice protocols.
  • Participate in professional organizations and continuing education to improve practice knowledge and skills.
  • Supervise and monitor unit nursing staff.
  • Identify patients' age-specific needs and alter care plans as necessary to meet those needs.
  • Coordinate patient care conferences.
  • Ensure that equipment or devices are properly stored after use.
  • Assess family adaptation levels and coping skills to determine whether intervention is needed.
  • Assess patients' psychosocial status and needs, including areas such as sleep patterns, anxiety, grief, anger, and support systems.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SIR.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Investigative and Realistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Support and Achievement in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Education Required

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.


In 2017, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $69,820 with most people making between $49,930 and $96,690


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 130,070 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 148,240 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 1,817 openings due to growth and about 3,073 replacement openings for approximately 4,890 total annual openings.

Pennsylvania Department of Education