The ICU Team

ICU Nurses (Critical Care Nurses)

ICU nurses are truly the minute-to-minute critical care providers. They not only help to provide, but also coordinate, most aspects of care delivery. They have special training and experience in caring for critically ill and injured patients. Many ICU nurses have attained advanced certification in critical care and have earned the title Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN).

Because care is delivered around the clock, depending on the patient's length of stay in the ICU, you may encounter numerous ICU nurses. They communicate with each other and the ICU physicians regularly and in a coordinated fashion.

ICU nurses are experts in treatment of critical health problems such as shock (severe heart and circulatory failure), respiratory failure (severe breathing problems), hemorrhage (severe bleeding problems), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and many others.

They are dedicated to the best possible outcomes for the critically ill and injured patient and are often a terrific source of information about a patient's condition.

Advanced Practice Nurses

An advanced practice nurse (APN) has additional education (master's or doctorate degrees) and skills. APNs provide specialized healthcare to patients and their families. Clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners are examples of advanced practice nurses.

A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) cares for patients at the bedside. CNSs ensure patient safety and make certain that the very best care is provided to patients and their families. CNSs may also teach other nurses and provide advice to hospital administrators.

A nurse anesthetist usually gives anesthesia and other medications, as well as monitors patients, during and after surgery. Some nurse anesthetists also provide specialized skills in critical care units, such as insertion of special monitoring catheters.

A nurse practitioner (NP) diagnoses and treats common health problems under the supervision of a doctor. NPs may examine patients, order tests, and prescribe medications. Many work in outpatient settings, such as clinics. Others work in hospitals and care for patients who are acutely ill or injured.

Nurse Managers

Nurse managers are nurses with additional experience and education, who are responsible for the day to day operations of the ICU. In addition to managing the ICU nursing staff, the nurse managers are responsible for the ICU budget and practices.

Nurse managers are responsible for ensuring that the care in the ICU is safe. They hire ICU nurses and ensure that all nursing staff members meet the standards established for their performance.

Additional Information

For more information about ICU Nurses (Critical Care Nurses) see the following site(s):

Building on decades of clinical excellence, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) provides and inspires leadership to establish work and care environments that are respectful, healing and humane. The key to AACN's success is through its members. Therefore, AACN is committed to providing the highest quality resources to maximize nurses' contribution to caring and improving the healthcare of critically ill patients and their families.

Society of Critical Care Medicine provides consumer information including critical care: questions, decisions, and a glossary of terms.