What does a Critical Care Nurse do?

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

Jobs Roles

  • Identify patients' age-specific needs and alter care plans as necessary to meet those needs.
  • Provide post-mortem care.
  • Evaluate patients' vital signs or laboratory data to determine emergency intervention needs.
  • Perform approved therapeutic or diagnostic procedures based upon patients' clinical status.
  • Administer blood and blood products, monitoring patients for signs and symptoms related to transfusion reactions.
  • Administer medications intravenously, by injection, orally, through gastric tubes, or by other methods.
  • Advocate for patients' and families' needs, or provide emotional support for patients and their families.
  • Set up and monitor medical equipment and devices such as cardiac monitors, mechanical ventilators and alarms, oxygen delivery devices, transducers, or pressure lines.
  • Monitor patients' fluid intake and output to detect emerging problems such as fluid and electrolyte imbalances.
  • Monitor patients for changes in status and indications of conditions such as sepsis or shock and institute appropriate interventions.
  • Assess patients' pain levels or sedation requirements.
  • Assess patients' psychosocial status and needs, including areas such as sleep patterns, anxiety, grief, anger, and support systems.
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to develop and revise treatment plans based on identified needs and assessment data.
  • Collect specimens for laboratory tests.
  • Compile and analyze data obtained from monitoring or diagnostic tests.
  • Conduct pulmonary assessments to identify abnormal respiratory patterns or breathing sounds that indicate problems.
  • Document patients' medical histories and assessment findings.
  • Document patients' treatment plans, interventions, outcomes, or plan revisions.
  • Identify patients who are at risk of complications due to nutritional status.
  • Prioritize nursing care for assigned critically ill patients, based on assessment data or identified needs.
  • Assist physicians with procedures such as bronchoscopy, endoscopy, endotracheal intubation, or elective cardioversion.
  • Ensure that equipment or devices are properly stored after use.
  • Identify malfunctioning equipment or devices.
  • Assess family adaptation levels and coping skills to determine whether intervention is needed.
  • Coordinate patient care conferences.
  • Participate in professional organizations and continuing education to improve practice knowledge and skills.
  • Participate in the development, review, or evaluation of nursing practice protocols.
  • Plan, provide, or evaluate educational programs for nursing staff, interdisciplinary health care team members, or community members.
  • Supervise and monitor unit nursing staff.
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