Critical Care Register Nurse
Critical Care Register Nurse (CCRN) is a high level of nursing specialization. The American Association of Critical Care Nurses sponsors the exams. A particular exam will cover critical care for adult, pediatric, or neonatal patients.
Before nurses are able to take the Critical Care Register Nurse, they need to already be a registered nurse. The criteria for applying for this certification are:
- Holding a current RN or APRN certificate
- Having worked at the bedside of critically ill patients for a minimum of 1,750 hours within the prior 2 years, with 875 hours having been within the last year.
- Having been registered and practiced under license over a five year period, administering care to acutely or critically ill patients for 2000 hours, having served 144 within the prior 12 months.
A critical care nurse is expected to give immediate care to patients. The treatment will be intensive and lifesaving. The assessment of the patients looked after will be more complex than in the regular ward and ongoing until the patient is well enough to be moved from critical care status.
Examples of patients needing care from a critical care nurse are; those who have suffered from respiratory distress, extreme trauma or shock, a stroke that has left them critically ill or a heart attack. The nurses need to be able to act quickly and spot small signs that could point to the patient’s condition deteriorating, and take appropriate action promptly. It can take time to learn about the different treatments, equipment and methods, before a nurse is ready to take the exam.
Those who wish to become registered will first need to know how to:
- Assess the condition of a patient and alter care plans accordingly
- Apply treatment to any wounds and if necessary provide advanced life support
- Aid physicians and other critical care staff to perform procedures
- Taking vital signs from patients and record them
- Make sure that ventilators, critical care monitors and other medical equipment are all is working order
- Give IV medication and fluids
- Order tests for diagnosis and follow up if necessary
- Keep other critical care team members informed and using information they give you to provide the best level of care
- Respond to life threatening situations when required
- Providing patient advocacy
- Keeping patients and their family informed and providing them with support
Some critical care nurses also work with patients before they are sent for life saving surgery and after the surgery has taken place. In addition to their usual roles, they may also be asked to serve as a case manager, to assist with new policies or change old ones. As part of the job role, they may also have to take on administrative duties.
As well as needing to be a registered nurse before taking the exam to become a registered critical care nurse, one may also want to get a BSN degree. This is highly desirable in the medical field and may give job applicants the upper hand over others who do not hold it. In some cases, holding the degree can increase the annual pay.
The exam taken by students is either in adult nursing, pediatric or neonatal nursing, which must be decided beforehand. A manager can help a nurse to get the resources if currently employed, but if not or are if a person is not yet currently employed, there are many other resources available that can help with studying.
In preparation for the certification to work in critical care, certain procedures must be performed. The applicant will need to be monitored by a member of staff, who is qualified in critical care, until they acquire the amount of time spent required at a critically ill patient’s bedside. At that point, they submit an application to take the examination.
Of course, some of the information needed in order to pass the exam will be taught while in training, but it is always best to have resources to prepare and improve the chances of passing and consequentially providing the level of care to critical care patients that they need.
If it so happens that an applicant fails, they will be able to take the exam again at a later date, but will have to pay again. This is why it is so important to study beforehand, brush up and look into further medical treatments, observation and other critical care duties so that the questions can be answered accurately the first time around. After all, hospitals are constantly crying out for nurses in this sector, so the sooner a nurse gets certified, the faster they can help the patients and units that are in need.
The handbook will give the information needed to take not only the Critical Care Register Nurse test, but other related ones. Also, get a blueprint examination, access to references and practice questions that will help along the way. It is recommended that one studies the handbook first, before starting on the practice questions. The questions may not be the same as the questions received on the actual exam.
If you are taking the adult critical care exam, then there are practice tests online available to study beforehand. This will help in the preparation and help you to improve your exam skills. The resources can be of assistance after the exam as a refresher of what was learned. This will be very useful after 3 years, when nurses have to get re-certified.
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