MICU Nurse

Are you thinking about becoming a nurse? Are you already a nurse thinking of specializing in critical care?

If you answered yes to either question, rest assured that the door of opportunity is wide open to you. In fact, experts estimate there will be 1.2 million vacancies in the nursing field by the year 2021.

This is especially true inside the country’s many medical intensive care units (MICU). Working with severely ill patients is not for the faint of heart — it takes determination, critical thinking abilities, and the right eduction.

Wondering if you’ve got what it takes? Read on! In this post, we’ll provide a career spotlight on becoming a MICU nurse.

Defining a MICU Nurse

First of all, what’s the difference between a registered nurse and an ICU (or MICU) nurse?

The setting is one major difference. A medical intensive care unit may handle all the care for critcally ill or injured patients in the hospital. Depending on the facility, the ICU might also focus on a narrow range of medical problems.

Another possibility for MICU nurses is working in a mobile ICU. This is either a specialized ambulance or helicopter that transports patients with life-threatening conditions. MICU nurses provide needed care while the patient is transported between different medical facilities.

Typical Responsibilities

Because patients in ICU wards need constant, round-the-clock care, MICU nurses may only handle one or two patients per shift.

Their main responsibility is to assess and monitor the patient’s condition. Extreme attention must be given to the quality of care, as an ICU patient’s condition may change rapidly at any time.

Some typical duties a MICU nurse will handle during a shift include:

  • Checking vital signs
  • Repositioning patients and assessing pain levels
  • Print and analyze EKG strips
  • Perform head-to-toe assessments
  • Critical wound or post-surgical care
  • Check all equipment and drug charts
  • Administering medication, IVs, etc.
  • Provide support and education for patients’ family members

Working in an ICU unit is very rewarding, but it can also be physically and emotionally exhausting.

To get a better feel for what it’s like, ask to shadow a MICU nurse for a shift. That way you’ll gain a clearer understanding of the duties involved.

Required Skills and Education

Like anyone entering the nursing field, your first step is to get your BSN degree (Bachelor of Science in Nursing).

This four-year degree program prepares you to take the NCLEX exam. Once you pass the exam, you’ll become a registered nurse (RN).

From here, you have many options for extra certifications or specializations. Nurses interested in specializing in critical care may choose to pursue:

  • CCRN (Acute/Critical Care Nursing)
  • CCRN-E (Tele-ICU Acute/Critical Care Nursing)
  • CCRN-K (Acute/Critical Care Knowledge Professional)
  • PCCN (Progressive Care Nursing)

You can find out more about each of these certifications here.

Top Employers to Work For

As an RN or MICU nurse, the world is your oyster when it comes to employment options.

Of course, just because you can work anywhere doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll want to work anywhere. Like any other industry, some employers treat their staff better than others.

Fortune Magazine just put out a list of the top 30 workplaces in healthcare. Among the “best of the best” are Texas Health Resources, Miami Children’s Health System, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Scripps Health.

What if you don’t live near any of the hospitals on the list? That’s okay too. You can always check online reviews to see what other nurses say about the facility they work for.

Tips for Becoming an Ideal Candidate

Because ICU patients are much sicker and require more care than the average patient, a MICU nurse must be prepared to deal with the extra work (and the stress that goes along with it).

What skills should you have to be a successful and employable MICU nurse? Because of the ever-changing environment, you’ll need excellent problem solving and critical thinking skills. You need to be able to make quick, educated decisions while keeping your cool.

You’ll also want to develop great communication skills, as you’re the main communicator between doctors, patients, and family members. Cultivate empathy and a high respect for yourself, the doctors you work with, and the patients you treat.

Of course, you’ll also need a great deal of physical and emotional fortitude. How well do you handle a traumatic situation? Do you have the ability to accept human suffering and death without letting it get personal?

These are all important factors if you’re thinking of moving into a MICU environment.

Promotions and Upward Mobility

Due to the shortage mentioned at the opening, nurses have almost unlimited access to promotions within the healthcare field.

Working as an RN and then a MICU nurse will give valuable exposure to a wide range of medical settings. With the knowledge and skills you’ll gain, you may wish to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN).

If you’re interested in moving into research, systems leadership, or quality improvement, you might also consider a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP).

These are just a few of many options available for upward mobility in the nursing field.

Online Nursing Degree Programs

The great news in today’s modern world is that getting a good education no longer requires sitting in a classroom.

Whether you’re just starting down the path towards a nursing career or you’re ready for a new challenge in the field, an online program can give you the credentials you need.

Click here to learn more about the best online nursing degree programs.

Becoming a MICU Nurse: Final Thoughts

It takes a special kind of person — and a special kind of nurse — to handle the challenging MICU environment.

If you think you’ve got what it takes, you’ve come to the right place. Before you pick an area to specialize in, it’s good to review the difference between certificates and certifications.

And if you have more questions about the world of ICU nursing, be sure to check out our FAQ page.

Benefits of the MSN in the ICU

Are you interested in working in intensive care units? If so, you may be considering getting a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN).

While the MSN isn’t required for ICU work, it will provide you with invaluable benefits.

But why should you go to the effort to get an MSN if it isn’t required for the work you want to do? Keep reading to find out about some of the benefits of having an MSN while working in intensive care.

Additional Experience and Knowledge

You gained a lot of great experience and knowledge while you worked on getting your RN license. Your learning doesn’t have to stop there, though, so why limit yourself?

The work required to get your MSN will prepare you for the rigors of working in the ICU day in and day out. You’ll have additional skills beyond what was required when you obtained your RN, and additional knowledge never hurts.

The MSN requires classes regarding upper-level nursing skills, such as leadership skills. When applying for jobs, hospitals and other health locations that offer critical care will see that you’re a cut above the rest.

More Career Opportunities

There are many different career options within the ICU. You’re not limited to traditional nurse duties if you have an MSN.

Nurses holding an MSN are able to participate in administrative and educational roles. Critical Care Nurses can operate as either Clinical Nurse Specialists or Nurse Practitioners.

The skills you’ve learned while gaining your MSN will help you perform the vital functions of these roles. These functions include assessing the health of patients in a comprehensive way, making medical diagnoses, put interventions in place, and ordering diagnostic tests and procedures.

Focused Education

Graduate studies allow for more flexibility and specialization than undergraduate degrees. While you learned many important skills as an undergrad, grad school is the time to hone those skills and drive them in the direction of your choosing.

If you’d like to pursue a career in nursing in the ICU, then you can gear your graduate experience to match that goal.

While a general MSN will help with your work in the ICU, an MSN specifically focused on critical care is even better.

You may need to be an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in order to work in the ICU of your choice. This depends on the hospital’s preference.

The base qualification for critical care nursing is still an RN, but hospitals and other locations may require more if they wish.

To become an APRN you need to have at least a master’s degree. You’ll also need to obtain the appropriate certification. Once you’ve done that, you’ll meet the requirements of just about any healthcare location that offers critical care.

Greater Income Potential

An MSN allows you to work in more and higher-level capacities than an RN or RSN. Depending on the positions you pursue, this can really make a difference in your income level.

Specialists and administrators simply make more than standard nurses. While your focus should be on supporting doctors and performing other nursing duties, the additional funds are a nice perk to getting that MSN.

Show Your Dedication

If you hold an MSN, potential employers will instantly see that you’re dedicated to the work of nursing. You’ll give off the impression that you care deeply about bettering the lives of those you work with and that you want to make a difference.

While an RN is admirable in its own sense, an MSN is a cut above. It shows you take your job seriously and that you want to be taken seriously in return.

It also shows you’re up to taking on the more difficult roles in nursing. Add an MSN to your credentials and peers and employers will know you’re a reliable person to turn to when something needs to be done.

A More Well-Rounded Education

Whether you end up using everything you study or not, the path to becoming an MSN is full of learning you don’t want to miss out on. Here are some of the things you may learn more about while getting an MSN:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health assessments
  • Collaborative management
  • Oncology
  • Surgery
  • Cardiology

While you’re learning about these things, you can focus on one of them if you take an interest in the specialty. If you’d like to focus on ER or trauma work, you can. That will prepare you even more for work in the intensive care unit.

Prepare for Higher Level Learning

An MSN doesn’t just prepare your ICU work. It also sets you up for a higher level of learning.

The work required to obtain an MSN and the experience you’ll gain working in the ICU will prep you for working on a Doctorate degree, should you decide to pursue one. By the time you start this prestigious degree, you’ll have considerable knowledge in ICU and other nursing work, and you’ll be a pro when it comes to working hard.

Go for that MSN if You Want to Work in the ICU

You can work in the ICU as an RN, but why stop there when you can obtain an MSN? The work required for you to obtain that degree will undoubtedly prepare you better for ICU work.

Once you’ve obtained your MSN, you’ll show potential employers that you mean business. You’ll soon be working in the unit of your choice, where you’ll work to save and better lives — as all nurses do.

Interested to learn what your salary may be as an ICU nurse in your region? Click here to find out.

ICU Nurse Certifications: What You Need to Know

ICU Nurse Certifications: What You Need to KnowICU Nurse Certifications

Now that you have finally become an ICU nurse, you may be wondering what other certifications you may want to consider adding to your resume. There are some basic certifications most ICU nurses acquire that are not ICU specific such as BLS, basic arrhythmia, EKG interpretation, and ACLS, but other certifications apply to ICU nurses?

Let’s take a look at a few ICU Nurse Certifications below.

CCRN:

The CCRN is the major certification for critical care nurses. It stands for critical care registered nurse and is offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Certification Corporation.  The CCRN offers three main specializations for adult, pediatric or neonatal. This ICU Nurse certification will give you not only a sense of accomplishment but certainly will help you to gain maintain the respect of your peers and coworkers and even patients and their families. The certification is good for 3 years and can be renewed by retaking the exam in your area is specialization.

To learn more about:

CCRN Certification for Adults

CCRN Certification for Neonatal

CCRN Certification for Kids

CCRN-E:

The CCRN-E is an option of the critical care registered nurse certification worth mentioning on its own. The CCRN-E Is for critical care nurses who provide care remotely. It is a subset of the adult specialization. The CCRN-E is a reflection of the world we live in today where healthcare professionals can have an impact on patients across the globe from right where they are. The possibilities in this realm are still being explored, however, this will likely be a greater part of critical care in the future and technology continues to advance.

To learn more about the CCRN Certification.

CWS:

The Certified Wound Specialist (CWS) certification is offered by the American Board of Wound Care Management.  The CWS is for nurses working at least three years with critical wounds. It is considered a Masters level certification and requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to be considered. This certification will allow your facility to market itself and perhaps you personally as a wound care expert.

To learn more about the CWS Certification.

CSC: ICU Nurse Certifications

The (Adult) CSC certification is the Cardiac Surgery Critical Care Nurse certification offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Certification Corporation

This ICU certification is for nurses who work with the critically ill immediately after heart surgery. It does require at least two years’ experience. If you don’t currently work with cardiac patients, inquire about internship opportunities within your organization or possibly within other organizations.

To learn more about the CSC Certification.

To learn more about additional nursing certifications.

Being an ICU nurse doesn’t happen by accident. Now that you are here it is important to have a clear plan for avoiding pitfalls and to ensure your continued development. Let’s explore several strategies top ICU nurses implore to keep themselves thriving in their careers.

Embrace Change

It’s no secret that nothing stays the same. The ICU is certainly not immune to this concept. There will be changes in leadership, changes in technology, and changes in procedures. Some of these you will see coming, however many you will not. The best approach is to expect change, and be willing to be on the forefront of implementing it if possible. If you maintain an attitude of being open to change and acclimation, you’ll go far in creating the most positive work environment possible for yourself. The ICU is not a place to be stuck in the past.

Be an Active Learner

If you are an ICU nurse, chances are you already have a high degree of initiative when it comes to education. It is important this does not subside now that you have gotten to this point. This means if you don’t yet have your BSN then pursue it, if you have your BSN consider your next steps towards pursuing an MSN or perhaps a Masters of public health. Have thought about becoming a certified critical care nurse (CCN) through? There are also any number of certifications that will help you specialize in areas to you and your patients. This type of continued initiative towards education will help you to be on the cutting edge of critical care nursing, and put you in the conversation for advancement.

Be Curious, Not Furious

It is important to be curious not furious in the face criticism in the ICU. The ICU is an environment where the smallest details can make all the difference. Therefore it is important you glean any bit of wisdom you can from each source presented. This means it may be from another nurse or an intern or doctor who may not present their feedback in the most positive fashion. At the end of the day if intention is to save lives and to improve care, feedback from all sources with a direct perspective is incredibly valuable.

Set Proper Expectations

It is important you set the proper expectations with those you work with. This can help avoid unnecessary turbulence in tense situations later. If you see yourself as a patient advocate first and foremost, then make it clear from the beginning to everyone. This means the doctors you work with you are going to be calling in the middle of the night at times should know you will unapologetically pick up that phone instead of waiting and hoping that what you’re seeing is not correct. It also means the interns and other nurses you work with should know you will not back down from questioning them if you do not feel that something is right about the care or the test results that your patient is receiving.

Respect the Results

Things do not always turn out the way we would like. This is an obvious fact of life, however in a critical care situation this often means you will lose a patient even though you have giving them the best possible care they could have received. It is important to respect the result of your best efforts. Otherwise the emotional investment and ongoing internal turmoil will take its toll on not only you, but your future performance which can put other patients at risk.

 

Intensive Care Nursing: Key Aptitudes

Intensive care nursing provides a crucial role in the care of patients who are vulnerable. ICU nurses show high aptitude in several vital areas include collecting data, anticipating changes, teamwork, and consistency.

Collecting Data:

Intensive care nursing requires its nurses to collect data in ways that are not always apparent or even documented. The more obvious way is by reviewing the reports from the previous shift. Verbal reports from nurses coming off their shift can be just as vital and data-rich. For example, a nurse may note that a given patient tends to exaggerate certain types of discomfort or another scenario is where a patient’s rest pattern correlates to a negative impact on a patient’s blood pressure.

Physical observation is also a key aspect of data collection. The nurse has the hard data from the medical reports. Then the nurse can observe the patient while making rounds which will help to establish a baseline by which subsequent interaction during a shift will be measured against. A nurse may note a patient’s energy level and cognitive ability; changes in either of these areas during a shift can lead a nurse to make decisions regarding the frequency of observation or perhaps to initiate additional testing to determine whether any type of intervention is necessary.

Anticipating Changes:

Those involved in Intensive Care Nursing utilize a high level of anticipation. They draw on their experience, training, and education to attempt to deduce familiar patterns or complications during a shift for a given patient. Based on their anticipation, the ICU nurse can decide the frequency and extent of their monitoring. The nurse might adjust the parameters of the various alarm systems connected to their patients, which will further notify them of any changes. ICU nurses often hypothesize about the connection between certain health factors and carefully monitor specific data points over their shift in anticipation of a possible connection.

Intensive Care Nursing Requires Teamwork:

ICU nurses value the input of their fellow health professionals and family members of their patients. They must work closely with those surrounding the patient to provide the best care possible. Other nurses and coworkers bring insights to their attention based on their observations and experience that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Family members play an essential role as they know the patient best. Family members can relay information about the state of a patient that a health professional might not be able to pick up on. This may include uncharacteristic behavior or embarrassing details that might be pertinent.

Consistency:

Those involved in Intensive Care Nursing display a very high level of consistency. This is an absolutely critical component of the surveillance of the patients under their care. Nurses must take vitals, administer medications, and observe data consistently to create accurate baselines. Consistency is part of what allows them to draw conclusions based on their Observations. Their observations are the catalyst for the split-second decisions that they make it any given moment.

Are you considering continuing your ICU Nursing Career by earning your MSN or DNP.

It’s Resolution Time. How will 2018 be different?

The time has come again when everyone is starting to think about their nursing resolutions they will make for the coming year. ICU nurses are not immune to this; in fact, their resolutions have the opportunity to make an incredible impact as their resolutions may help to save lives.

Let’s look at some possible resolutions for ICU nurses.

Take Action Instead of Complaining:

It’s easy to get caught up in what’s wrong or less than optimal in our working environment; however, the more productive path is to be an agent of positive change. Make a nursing resolutions to be the one to make a difference at work, be an agent of change.

It may take a little more time to do things more efficiently, and most importantly to help others understand why you are doing what you are doing. These changes may reduce your frustration level at work. Also being known as a problem-solver rather than a complainer can have other positive effects on your career and relationships. People who are problem-solvers may move up in their career faster than those who complain and wait for someone else to fix the situation.

Seek to Understand Before Being Understood:

One of the habits to follow from Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is how to listen to someone else’s point of view before explaining your position.

One New Year’s resolution is to listen to your coworkers before reacting or expressing your opinion. It’s a natural tendency to become defensive when someone questions you or even has a different perspective, especially in a very high-intensity environment like the ICU.

Consider Adding In More Cooling Off Time

If you find yourself having a negative internal reaction to what someone else is saying, consider the second level of this resolution, which is to wait until the end of your shift or even some other point in the future to address the situation as long as it does not have an impact on your patient’s health.

Generally, we make better decisions when we have given ourselves more time to think about an issue or problem. Make this a part of your nursing resolutions to allow for more cooling off time before engaging with a co-worker or supervisor. Spend some time internalizing what you could have done differently in the situation, or where your co-worker was coming from. Then if it still bothers you, seek to understand why your co-worker did what they did. It might have been a misunderstanding and/or a different judgment call that in the end was still correct, but different then what you would have done.

This will afford you the opportunity to discern whether or not the emotions and sentiments you are feeling truly need to be expressed. If after a few hours or days, the feelings have passed or are no longer festering, you’ll likely feel relieved you did not react negatively toward your coworker. To this end, this will help promote the most positive working environment possible.

Learn Phrases in Other Languages:

ICU Nurses in the United States encounter patients of many different nationalities. Undoubtedly there are times when knowing basic phrases such as ‘breath deep’ or ‘use bathroom’ would come in handy in other languages.
Think about what languages you encounter most frequently.

Make a list of the top three useful phrases in your day to day interaction with patients. Use a simple tool like Google translate to find out what the phrases are in the other three languages and search online to find examples of how to pronounce them properly.
Many in health care learn Medical Spanish, which can help in their day to day interactions with patients and family members.

Advance Your Education:

It’s time to stop putting off the education or training that has been haunting you. You already know you should do it, the New Year is just the momentum you need to stop your procrastination dead in its tracks.
Maybe your next step in your career involves pursuing your BSN or MSN or a special certification that would be beneficial to your unit.

Identify it, write down your commitment, share it with someone to keep you accountable, and make the property arrangements to figure out how to pursue your education. It’s not going to get cheaper or easier, now is the time. And, there is rarely a good time to continue your education, but as you look back on it, you’ll be glad you did.

Whats the Difference Between CCRN or CCRN-K certification

Considering pursuing your CCRN or CCRN-K?

Pursuing a nursing certification, whether it is CCRN or CCRN-K or another certification, recognizes your professional achievement and shows your commitment to the nursing profession. Seeking additional certification have tangible and intangible benefits. You can be proud of your achievement. Not all nurses pursue additional nursing certifications, which can be your competitive advantage.

You can achieve your certification credential through experience in your nursing specialization, continued education and passing the exam.

What is the Difference Between CCRN and CCRN-K?

The biggest difference between CCRN and CCRN-K is one handles direct patient care and the other one is for nurses who generally work in supervisory roles who do not provide direct patient care but can come in contact with acutely and critically ill adults patients.

CCRN-K

Whats the Difference Between CCRN or CCRN-K certification

CCRN-K is a certification for nurses who handle the care of acutely and critically ill adult, pediatrics or neonatal patients but do not primarily or exclusively provide direct care to these patients. The nursing career titles that pursue this credential include Clinical Educator, Manager/ Supervisor, Director, academic faculty and or nursing administrator.¹

What is Required to Seek CCRN-K Certification?

It is important you have an unencumbered and current RN or APRN license from the United States. Next, you must meet at least one of these clinical practice hour requirements:

Candidates must meet the following practice requirement to sit for your exam. It is important that you have practiced as an RN or APRN for at least 1,040 hours in the previous two years. Of which 260 of those hours had to completed within the most recent year.

Practice hours are calculated differently for CCRN-K than for CCRNs. For CCRN-K, you must be able to show you applied your knowledge in a way that influences patient care in a positive way.

To learn more about CCRN-K eligible practice hour requirements. For complete eligibility requirements, check out the CCRN-K handbook.

CCRN-K Exam Cost

If you are an AACN Member, the exam cost is $235 and for non-members, it is $340.

CCRN

On the other hand, CCRN is for nurses who provide direct care to acutely and critically ill adults, pediatrics or neonatal patients. The nursing career titles that pursue this credential include combined ICU/CCUs, cardiac care units, intensive care units, medical and surgical ICUs, trauma units or critical care transport/ flights. CCRNs can work with adults, pediatric patients and neonatal.²

What is Required to Seek CCRN Certification?
It is important you have an unencumbered and current RN or APRN license from the US. Next, you must meet at least one of these clinical practice hour requirements:

2-Year Option for CCRN Certification

As a RN or APRN you must have direct care of acutely or critically ill adult patients within the previous two years and accumulated more than 1,750 hours to be able to pursue your CCRN certification.  It’s important to note that 875 hours must have been completed in the preceding year you submit your application.
OR

5-Year Option for CCRN Certification

The biggest difference between 2-year and 5-year option is the number of hours you need per year to pursue your  CCRN certification. In 5 years, you only need 2,000 hours of direct care of acutely or critically ill adult patients. This is only marginally more than the 2-year option, but you have three more years to achieve this minimum. You only need 144 hours to have been completed in the preceding year you submit your application.

Learn more about which clinical hours are eligible.

CCRN Exam Cost

If you are a AACN Member, the exam cost is $235 and for nonmembers it is $340.

 

Interested in additional nursing certifications? or ICU Nurses Guide to Self-Improvement

Learn more about What’s the Difference Between CCRN-E and CCRN-K? and What’s the Difference Between CCRN and a CCRN-E?

Resources:

  1. CCRN-K American Association of Critical Care Nurses
  2. CCRN American Association of Critical Care Nurses

In this article, find out what the main differences are between the CCRN-E and CCRN-K certifications and their eligibility requirements.

CCRN-E Certification

CCRN-E specialty certification is an extension of the CCRN certification program. This certification is created for nurses who care for critically ill adult patients in a centralized or remotely-based tele-ICU setting that is networked with the bedside via audiovisual communication and computer systems.

If you working in an education role or in a simulation lab, you would not be eligible for the CCRN-E credential. ¹ Read on to learn more about the right certification is right for you if you are in a simulation lab or an education role.

What is Required to Seek CCRN Certification?

It is important you have an unencumbered and current RN or APRN license from the United States. Next, you must meet at least one of these clinical practice hour requirements:

2-Year Option for CCRN-E Certification

As a RN or APRN you must have direct care of acutely or critically ill adult patients in a tele-ICU or in a combination of tele-ICU and direct care within the previous two years and accumulated more than 1,750 hours to be able to pursue your CCRN-E certification.  It’s important to note that 875 hours must have been completed in the preceding year you submit your application.

OR

5-Year Option for CCRN Certification

The biggest difference between 2-year and the 5-year option is the number of hours you need per year to pursue your  CCRN-E certification. In 5 years, you only need 2,000 hours of direct care of acutely or critically ill adult patients in a tele-ICU or in a combination of tele-ICU and direct care. This is only marginally more than the 2-year option, but you have three more years to achieve this minimum. You only need 144 hours to have been completed in the preceding year you submit your application.

Learn more about which clinical hours are eligible.

CCRN-E Exam Cost

If you are an AACN Member, the exam cost is $235 and for nonmembers it is $340.

Check out the CCRN-E handbook for complete eligibility requirements.

CCRN-K Certification

Whats the Difference Between CCRN or CCRN-K certification

CCRN-K is a certification for nurses who handle the care of acutely and critically ill adult, pediatrics or neonatal patients but do not primarily or exclusively provide direct care to these patients. The nursing career titles that pursue this credential include Clinical Educator, Manager/ Supervisor, Director, academic faculty and or nursing administrator.¹

What is Required to Seek CCRN-K Certification?

It is important you have an unencumbered and current RN or APRN license from the United States. Next, you must meet at least one of these clinical practice hour requirements:

Candidates must meet the following practice requirement to sit for your exam. It is important that you have practiced as an RN or APRN for at least 1,040 hours in the previous two years; of which 260 of those hours had to completed within the most recent year.

Practice hours are calculated differently for CCRN-K than for CCRNs. For CCRN-K, you must be able to show you applied your knowledge in a way that influences patient care in a positive way.

To learn more about CCRN-K eligible practice hour requirements. For complete eligibility requirements, check out the CCRN-K handbook.

CCRN-K Exam Cost

If you are an AACN Member, the exam cost is $235 and for non-members, it is $340.

Learn more about the CCRN certification.

By pursuing your nursing certification, shows patients and your employer that you dedicated to your nursing career, you have a defined body of knowledge, and you have worked hard to achieve your certification. Find out what the main differences are between CCRN-E vs CCRN certifications.

Let’s compare CCRN-E Versus CCRN

CCRN-E

CCRN-E specialty certification is an extension of the CCRN certification program. This certification is created for nurses who care for critically ill adult patients in a centralized or remotely-based tele-ICU setting that is networked with the bedside via audiovisual communication and computer systems.

If you working in an education role or in a simulation lab, you would not be eligible for the CCRN-E credential.¹ Read on to find the right nursing certification for you.

What is Required to Seek CCRN Certification?It is important you have an unencumbered and current RN or APRN license from the United States. Next, you must meet at least one of these clinical practice hour requirements:

2-Year Option for CCRN-E Certification

As an RN or APRN, you must have direct care of acutely or critically ill adult patients in a tele-ICU or in a combination of tele-ICU and direct care within the previous two years and accumulated more than 1,750 hours to be able to pursue your CCRN-E certification.  It’s important to note that 875 hours must have been completed in the preceding year you submit your application.

OR

5-Year Option for CCRN Certification

The biggest difference between 2-year and the 5-year option is the number of hours you need per year to pursue your  CCRN-E certification. In 5 years, you only need 2,000 hours of direct care of acutely or critically ill adult patients in a tele-ICU or in a combination of tele-ICU and direct care. This is only marginally more than the 2-year option, but you have three more years to achieve this minimum. You only need 144 hours to have been completed in the preceding year you submit your application.

Learn more about which clinical hours are eligible.

CCRN-E Exam Cost

If you are an AACN Member, the exam cost is $235 and for nonmembers it is $340.

Check out the CCRN-E handbook to learn more about the eligibility requirements.

What is the Difference Between CCRN and a CCRN-E

CCRN

On the other hand, CCRN is for nurses who provide direct care to acutely and critically ill adults, pediatrics or neonatal patients. The nursing career titles that pursue this credential include combined ICU/CCUs, cardiac care units, intensive care units, medical and surgical ICUs, trauma units or critical care transport/ flights. CCRNs can work with adults, pediatric patients and neonatal patients.²

What is Required to Seek CCRN Certification?
It is important you have an unencumbered and current RN or APRN license from the US. Next, you must meet at least one of these clinical practice hour requirements:

2-Year Option for CCRN Certification

As an RN or APRN, you must have direct care of acutely or critically ill adult patients within the previous two years and accumulated more than 1,750 hours to be able to pursue your CCRN certification.  It’s important to note that 875 hours must have been completed in the preceding year you submit your application.
OR

5-Year Option for CCRN Certification

The biggest difference between 2-year and the 5-year option is the number of hours you need per year to pursue your CCRN certification. In 5 years, you only need 2,000 hours of direct care of acutely or critically ill adult patients. This is only marginally more than the 2-year option, but you have three more years to achieve this minimum. You only need 144 hours to have been completed in the preceding year you submit your application.

Learn more about which clinical hours are eligible.

CCRN Exam Cost

If you are an AACN Member, the exam cost is $235 and for nonmembers it is $340.

Interested in additional nursing certifications? or ICU Nurses Guide to Self-Improvement

Resources:

  1. CCRN- E American Association of Critical Care Nurses
  2. CCRN American Association of Critical Care Nurses