Online Nursing Program: Specialize in Critical Care Nursing through Advanced Education

By James Collister on February 16th, 2009

Critical Care NurseAlthough the number of new registered nursing positions within intensive care units is not expected to grow as rapidly as other nursing specialties, the rate of staff turnover should continue to be high, providing ample opportunities for nurses who wish to specialize in critical care. Critical care nursing can be a stressful environment due to the severity of patients’ medical conditions and need for detailed attention. It also requires appropriate academic training through online nursing programs or campus programs in order to provide the high level of care necessary in an intensive care unit. However, the same factors that drive some professionals away from the intensive care unit are the same attractions that often draw other registered nurses to the practice of critical care.

What is Critical Care Nursing?

Graduates of online nursing program degrees who choose to specialize in critical care nursing treat patients who require intensive monitoring. Patients in critical care settings often require life support or organ support systems, such as mechanical ventilators and enteral nutrition. Critical care populations may include pediatrics, adults, or geriatrics. A registered nurse who specializes in critical care is often the health care professional that makes the decision to call the attending physician in emergency circumstances.

Required Education to Work in Critical Care Nursing

Although registered nurses may legally practice with a hospital diploma, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in nursing, employers most often prefer nursing professionals to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing through an online nursing program or campus program. A bachelor’s degree education provides registered nurses with the communication, leadership, and critical thinking skills essential for the expanding role of nursing professionals in the health care industry.

In response to the increased emphasis on advanced education for registered nurses, over 600 RN to BSN programs came into existence by the year 2004. Many online nursing schools are now offering online nursing program degrees that have been designed specifically for working registered nurses. For example, the University of Phoenix now offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program that can be completed entirely through distance education while a student continues working as a registered nurse. Kaplan University also has an online nursing program that allows students to concentrate in a preferred specialty while completing an online nursing degree.

Qualities Necessary for Success in Critical Care Nursing

In general, nurses need to be caring, sympathetic, responsible, and detail-oriented. Critical care nurses should also be emotionally stable in order to deal with job stresses, such as crises, emergencies, and human suffering. Internship and on-the-job training while completing an online nursing program is necessary to gain the practical work experience required to practice as a critical care nurse.

Category: Medical and Nursing

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