Refer a student
nurse caring old sick man
  • Posted on 23rd June, 2023

What Do Critical Care Nurses Do, and How to Advance Your Career in Critical Care Nursing?

If you’ve ever been seriously ill in your life or visited someone who was ailing in the hospital you would have probably met a critical care nurse. Often called intensive care nurses because of the unit they often work in; critical care nurses are highly trained to understand and care for people of all ages who are recovering from life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

Critical care nurses deliver some of the most specialised and skilled care in healthcare. In this blog, let us take a look what exactly they do and how you can become one.

What does a Critical care nurse do?

Critical care nurses have the same skills as registered nurses and may have additional training to care for acute or critical illnesses. An average day for a critical care nurse includes supervising critical medical support equipment and caring for patients with life-threatening injuries. Critical care nurses need clear communication in order to interact with other nurses and interdisciplinary teams to stabilise emergency situations. Critical care nurses collaborate with healthcare providers to manage medical treatment to patients and keep their family updated.

  • What key skills does a critical care nurse possess?
  • Ability to quickly and properly access and treat patients
  • Critical thinker in a fast-paced setting
  • Excellent in communicating with patients and their family members
  • Physically prepared for extended, demanding shifts

Where do Critical Care Nurses perform their duties?

Critical care nurses use their expertise and advanced training in diverse healthcare settings. They often operate in intensive care units but also provide care for emergency injuries or chronic illnesses in other healthcare facilities. Patients in step-down units are those who don’t require as much immediate care as those in the intensive care unit (ICU), but who also aren’t stable enough to be transferred to a medical floor or home. By helping other nurses via a teleICU, some critical care nurses can even work from home.

Intensive Care Unit

  • Assess patients’ conditions, give medication, and keep an eye on life support systems to help patients’ health to stabilise.
  • Adapt and maintain composure when faced with challenging circumstances that need critical thinking.
  • Discuss the best course of action for the patient with the interdisciplinary team and the patient’s family.

Step-down Units

  • Critical care units assist in lowering the number of patients in the ICU by offering a transitional location to shift more stable patients
  • Offer care to patients who have undergone recent major surgery or yet require medical attention
  • Offer comfort to patient and their family members
  • Swift ability to react to any alterations in a patient’s condition


  • Ability to develop a patient’s treatment plan with other nurses and medical professionals through videoconferencing
  • Considering that teleICUs are a recent invention in healthcare, be open to new concepts and methods of patient care
  • Technical competence
  • Analytical thinking

Why should you take up the role of a critical care nurse?

Because of the incredible amount of responsibility they carry when caring for patients in life-threatening situations, the career of a critical care nurse is both high-risk and highly rewarding. Throughout the patient’s stay, nurses must act as an advocate for unconscious patients and build relationships with the patient’s family. These circumstances burden nurses professionally and may be detrimental to their mental health.

Despite carrying such a hefty load, critical care nurses have a lot of advantages. The critical care nurses get to work with experienced professionals and have access to the most modern medical equipment when they work in ICUs or other healthcare institutions. A critical care nurse has a lot of options to specialise, earn higher salary and look for higher-level jobs.

Benefits of working as a Critical Care Nurse

  • The satisfaction of helping a seriously injured or ill patient recover
  • Chances to collaborate on projects with a variety of experts and teams
  • Only a small number of patients are cared for at once by critical care nurses
  • The chance to work with cutting-edge medical technology

What is the salary of a Critical Care Nurse in Australia?

The average salary of an ICU nurse Australia is $87,245 per year or $44.74 an hour. The entry-level positions begin $78,964 annually and experienced workers earn up to $119,264 per year according to

How to Become a Critical Care Nurse in Australia?

To practice Critical Care Nursing in Australia, you must be a qualified Registered Nurse and hold an advanced degree like Graduate Certificate Critical Care Nursing, a Graduate Diploma in Nursing or a Master of Nursing with a specialisation in Critical Care or Intensive Care. You can also sign up for IHM’s Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing (Specialisation Acute Care Nursing) or Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing (Specialisation Critical Care Nursing).

In conclusion, to make sure you make an informed decision and be successful in your endeavours you should consider reaching out to our experts at IHM (Institute of Health and Management) who will assist you in choosing a suitable course for a career in critical care nursing.

Recent Blogs

Get in Touch
We are here
to help you!

Get an answer on courses, costs, careers as well as facilities, entry requirements or just about anything else relating to studying at IHM.
We are here to help you!

I consent to receiving information about IHM's courses and services by email and phone calls


Search the website