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Career Definition for a Critical Care Coordinator
Critical care coordinators can take on a variety of assignments, such as assisting physicians and surgeons in the emergency room, administering care to patients after the surgery, consulting and assessing patients' radiology and laboratory studies with the physician, keeping medical records, planning hospital discharge, and assisting in surgery. They also help regulate administrative activities in the critical care facility by assisting the administrative nurse and providing leadership, technical support, and training to new registered nurses (RNs).
|Required Education||RN training, possibly followed by a bachelor's degree in nursing|
|Job Duties||Includes assisting physicians and surgeons in the emergency room, keeping medical records, training new registered nurses|
|Median Salary (2015)||$67,490 (all registered nurses)|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||16% growth (all registered nurses)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Critical care coordinators typically start their careers as RNs, but may need to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. They might work in emergency care units, where they can assist administrative nurses and physicians and gain experience with patients in urgent and intense circumstances.
Licensing and Certifications
All RNs must have completed an accredited degree program and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Licenses and certifications - such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), or Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) - may be required.
Critical care coordinators need to possess strong knowledge of surgical anatomy and physiology, be capable of motivating and supervising others, have a knack for educating staff and nurses, and be able to interact positively with physicians, nurses, and staff.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the field of registered nursing is expected to grow by 16% from 2014-2024, providing new opportunities for those in the field of nursing to acquire positions as critical care coordinators. The BLS also published the median annual salary for RNs as $67,490 in 2015.
Alternate Career Options
Here are some examples of alternative career options:
A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who holds a master's degree and certification (after completing an exam); nurse practitioners must also already hold state-issued registered nurse licensing. Common duties include examining patients, making diagnoses for common primary care issues, ordering tests, and writing prescriptions as needed. Nurse practitioners may specialize, such as in pediatrics, psychiatric and mental health, or geriatrics. According to the BLS, jobs for nurse practitioners are expected to increase 35% from 2014-2024, and these jobs paid a median salary of $98,190 in 2015.
Physician assistants can provide primary health care to patients, including exams, diagnoses, and prescriptions as needed. Working under the supervision of a physician or surgeon, they can also provide health care in a specialty area, such as surgery, emergency medicine or pediatrics. A master's degree from an accredited physician assistant program is required for employment; state licensing is also required, which usually mandates a passing score on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). Physician assistants can expect strong job growth from 2014-2024, a rate of 30%, per the BLS. The agency also reports that physician assistants earned median pay of $98,180 in 2015.