SICU Nurse

Are you a nurse looking for a way to take your career to the next level? Consider becoming a SICU nurse.

If you’re already an RN with a couple of years of work experience, you’re already on your way to specializing in a specific area of nursing.

The U.S. is experiencing the start of a nursing boom with about 3 million RNs currently in the U.S. Now is a great time to think of what’s next for your nursing career.

As a Critical Care nurse, you’ll experience more opportunities for advanced patient care. And if nursing and medical technology are interesting to you, SICU nursing gives you access to more technology when caring for patients.

Read on to learn more about the education you’ll need and the job responsibilities that come with being a SICU nurse.

What is ICU?

As an RN, you’re already working in a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital. Or you might work in a school or nursing care facility.

You’re familiar with the general care of patients. But maybe you’re ready to add more skills and open more opportunities for your career.

The ICU is a place within the hospital for patients who are seriously ill to receive specialized care.

ICU nurses serve a limited number of patients. This is great news for anyone considering advancing into Critical Care. You’re in demand.

Types of ICUs

You have a choice of the type of ICU to continue your nursing career, including:

  • NICU: This is a neonatal intensive care unit. Care here focuses on newborns with critical medical issues demand a high level of monitoring.
  • PICU: A pediatric intensive care unit focuses on the critical care of seriously ill children.
  • TICU: This unit is for patients who have suffered severe injury from penetrating or blunt trauma.
  • SICU: The surgical intensive care unit treats patients who could need surgery or who are recovering from a recent surgery.

Is the SICU Right For You?

If you’re looking for a faster-paced environment than a doctor’s office or other general nursing, the SICU might be the perfect place for you.

You’ll need to be comfortable in an environment that is often chaotic. The SICU is a busy and challenging place to work–in a good way.

Critical Non-Nurse Skills

In addition to being an excellent nurse, the SICU will challenge you in other areas and aptitudes.

Collecting data from reviewing reports, monitoring patients, and listening to other nurses and doctors is a critical skill when caring for critical patients.

You’ll also need to work well within a team. Caring for SICU patients is a team effort between other nurses and doctors.

How well do you anticipate changes? A good SICU nurse can use their experience to notice details leading to changes in a patient’s health status. Acting before a patient suffers a setback is critical.

Even with these skills, one of the most important skills to have as an ICU nurse is confidence. You’ll need to make quick decisions in life or death situations.

Confidence in your nursing skills and your medical knowledge will help you succeed in the SICU.

An Emotional Environment

The SICU is also a unit full of emotions–both highs and lows.

Helping patients immediately out of surgery and through recovery takes an extremely caring individual. You must control emotions when an ICU patient doesn’t recover well, or at all.

But you’ll also share the joy of seeing people go from some of the worst health situations they’ve experienced to leaving the hospital with better health and hope.

As with any nursing role, you’ll regularly interact with a patient’s family members. A calm, caring demeanor during emotional conversations is essential.

The SICU is a rewarding environment. Not only will you develop more advanced skills and medical understanding, but you’ll also positively impact the lives of patients on their worst days.

What Kind of Education Do You Need?

If you’re already a nurse, you know there are a couple of education pathways to become an RN.

One of the quickest ways to become a registered nurse and begin working is through an associate’s degree program. This path allows you to get your RN certification in one to two years.

You can also start with your BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). This is a four-year degree program. While it will take longer to get into the workforce, the BSN sets you up for continuing education beyond your RN certification.

Beyond the RN or BSN

The demands on nurses continue to increase year after year. This means learning new skills and keeping up with trends in nursing is critical as you continue your career.

Hospitals and clinics will have different requirements for pursuing a nursing position in the SICU.

Consider additional certifications when thinking about a career in the SICU. A focus on general patient Critical Care (CCRN) can help put you ahead of other nurses competing for SICU positions in your hospital or area.

You might also consider a Cardiac Surgery (CSC) certification. This allows you to care for adults within the first 48 hours after cardiac surgery.

As you gain more knowledge and practical nursing skills, you might find you want to continue learning.

With a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, the opportunities to learn and advance your nursing career are almost endless.

Your Career as a SICU Nurse is Waiting

Now that you have a little knowledge of what it takes to become a SICU nurse, you’re ready to take your next career step.

Working in a SICU requires high energy and a self-starter personality. If that sounds like you, we encourage you to get started on your next certifications and gain the work experience you need to succeed. is here to help.

We provide helpful industry resources to critical care nurse hopefuls, connecting them to career advancement options through accredited degree programs.

Not finding what you need on our website? Feel free to contact us for additional help or with any questions.

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