is there a difference between ICU and critical care nursing

  1. Hello,
    I'm a pre nursing student and I was wondering what the difference is between working in the intensive care unit and working as a critical care nurse? If you can explain the differences between the 2 jobs, that would be great.

    thanks in advance
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    Joined: Feb '07; Posts: 78; Likes: 5


  3. by   RN1982
    It's the same thing. There are areas of critical care that are not as "advanced" or acute as ICU such as progressive care or step-down/tele. ICU patients are considered more "critical" than say a patient on a step-down unit although step-down patients have the potential for becoming more acute and may need 1:1 care which only the ICU can provide. I also consider ER nursing to be critical care.
  4. by   Babs0512
    ICU, ER and PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit) are all critical care areas. Nurses need special additional skills to work there effectively and should have some basic med surge nursing skills before applying. They would need an arrhythmia course (to learn to read EKG's and Cardiac monitors, ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and in the event your work in the ER or a Pediatric ICU you would also need the arrhythmia course and PALS (Pediatric advanced Life Support. In you worked in a NICCU you would need Neonatal Recessutation. Hope that answers your questions.
  5. by   ZippyGBR
    ICU is part of critical care

    from the right pondian persepctive there are four borad brush levles of dependencies

    level 0 is a standard acute hospital bed,

    level 1 is increased staffing to allow more RN time for each patient this is some / most of the beds on CCU, some telemetry / step down facilities and some of the NIV beds on respiratory units (usually bipap for type 2 resp failure patients)

    leve l2 is high dependency which is single organ support and /or NIV that isn't level 1

    level 3 is intensive care with multi organ support and /or invasive ventilation
  6. by   labcat01
    I just thought that ICU (CCU, PACU, ER, etc) is where you WORK and your title might be critical care nurse. For example, I tell people that I am a critical care nurse but I WORK in ICU. Do you know what I mean?
  7. by   Babs0512
    I don't think it matters, to me anyway. When they ask WHERE you work, to me they want to know the PLACE - so I tell them "The recovery room" - The general public has no clue about what is "critical care" and what isn't, for the most part, so I don't even go there.