Starting a Career in Critical Care Nursing

Is Critical Care Nursing Right for Me?

If you are thinking of starting your career in critical care, take this mini quiz.

1. I enjoy learning new things & constantly challenging myself. YES NO
2. I learn quickly and am able to solve problems. YES NO
3. I like to figure out why things are happening to my patients. YES NO
4. I handle myself well under pressure. YES NO
5. I like to network with other healthcare professionals. YES NO

If you answered YES to any of these statements, Critical Care Nursing may be right for you!

Where Can I Work and Take Care of Critically Ill Patients?

For years, it was a common belief that critically ill patients were only cared for in intensive care units (ICU) or coronary care units (CCU). More recently, it has been recognized that there are critically ill patients in a variety of settings: emergency departments, post anesthesia recovery units, interventional radiology, cardiac cath labs, burn units, step-down units, telemetry units, progressive care units, pediatric intensive care units, and neonatal intensive care units - to name just a few! The opportunities to work in critical care have never been better. The challenge is going to be figuring out which of these areas is right for you!

For basic information on statistics, nursing programs and schools, visit Discover Nursing from Johnson & Johnson's Campaign for Nursing's Future.

How Do I Get Started in Critical Care?

  • Join a professional organization. AACN is committed to helping students get started, a 33% membership discount is offered to student nurses.
  • Take a critical care course, internship or other educational offerings to help you learn about critical care nursing. AACN members receive discounts on a wide variety of books, pocket reference cards, and other resources to help you get started.
  • Keep up with the latest critical care nursing information. AACN members get two free critical care nursing journals and one newsletter per month. AACN members get a discount on the NTI, AACN's annual conference where you will discover educational programs to enhance your professional growth. 

This is best time to consider a career in critical care. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses can help you get there.