Trauma/Critical Care NP

Specialties MICU


Question for you guys:

I'm looking to further my career and considering an MSN ACNP. I really want to stay in Trauma and/or Critical Care (I'm a trauma rn now, have lots of icu experience as well). I've done some searches on the web and i've found lots of places that use "Trauma Nurse Practitioners" or "Critical Care Nurse Practitioners" but I can't really find a good job description. We don't use NPs here, so I don't have a good frame of reference.

The only thing I could find that is close was an article from the Journal of Emergency Nursing that desribed a position at OHSU but it was a few years old. That position sounded like a cross between an NP and Trauma Coordinator. I'm not really interested in doing administration (some would be acceptable). Basically, I want to do mostly clinical work with lots of procedures (lines, chest tubes etc.) but I'd also like to do some teaching/administrative stuff (just not a lot!).

I also don't want to be the discharge teaching nurse who simply provides follow up info. I want to actually see pts in the ICU and hands on care. Can anyone shed some light on this?


239 Posts

Have you looked into Clinical Nurse Specialist? They get a MSN CNS with the specialization being in any number of areas- one being critical care. I worked at a hospital in Atlanta who had one and she was awesome and loved her job. She functioned as a cross between educator and a clinical resource for nurses, and had a very hands on job. Whenever a new procedure or difficult patient came in, she was the one you wanted in the room. She helped assess, give input into improving care, and caught many potential problems for patients that were avoided. Our unit was a cross of neuro, surgical, medical, trauma all in one so she had a vast knowledge base from seeing all types of ICU patients.

I am sure you could find a similar niche in a trauma ICU somewhere. However, if you want to have responsibilites like FNPs do, then I think there are Acute Care FNPs who work in ER and may get more of the type of experience you want. I know at the facility I work at now, our FNPs work in the "quick care" part of the ER, so they don't get much of the really exciting stuff that comes into regular ER. We do have some FNPs who come see patients in the ICU, but usually only if they are on call for the Primary care physician. Not sure if that's how all FNPs function in the unit, that's just what I see. I'm sure others may have better suggestions for you. Good luck to you with furthering your education.


17 Posts

Specializes in Peds, ICU, ED, trauma.


I am a new grad and I was fortunate enough to have a Trauma NP/APN (she had both certs) as a clinical instructor at a Level I trauma center in Central IL. From the way I understood her role, after the trauma suregons/ER docs had either done surgery or admitted the pt, she would write orders, managed their care and made rounds more like a physician role until the pt was d/c'd. She was very involved in each pt's care, and she had ICU//Progressive care and regular floor privilages. She was an excellent role model and made me want to pursue that career. It is now my goal to get some experience and go back to school and get thoes degrees. I have a good start, I am hired into an Adult ICU and start in Jan. Good luck to you and I say go for it!!:rolleyes:


150 Posts

Not so sure about the CNS suggestion. I have worked Trauma/ICU/CCU for many years at many places and have very rarely seen a clinical nurse specialist doing any hands a matter of fact, rarely even seen on the unit....unless they are inservicing new equiptment or products....always seemed a waste of a degree to me.....imagine that. LOL

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