Critical care nursing is a speciality within the nursing field that is responsible for dealing with very sick and complex patients who are facing life-threatening problems. A critical care environment is rigorous and requires nurses to be on their toes.
Hence, nurses must possess advanced nursing skills and expert knowledge of specialized electronic equipment used for monitoring and treating acutely ill patients. Nursing students who aspire to enter this field must strive to gain knowledge and polish their skills so that they can help the critical care patients who are fighting death.
Regardless of whether you are studying at one of the nursing colleges in Canada or you are just starting to think about a future in healthcare, take some time to explore the critical care field of nursing by going through this blog.
Below, we will be talking about all the details of critical care nursing courses in Canada for international students. If you are a nurse aspirant who is interested in making a career in this field, then keep reading to know more.
What is Critical Care Nursing?
Critical care nursing in Canada is a speciality focused on the care of chronically ill and unstable patients who are at risk of life-threatening injuries. The aim of this nursing specialty is to promote excellence in the critical care environment. Ongoing professional development and enhancement of knowledge, skills, attitudes and creative thinking are important for efficient nursing practice. These nurses are also commonly called ICU nurses. They are responsible for treating patients who are acutely ill and require frequent assessments along with the utilization of life-saving technology and drugs.
Every day, a critical care nurse is commonly asked to perform assessments of critical conditions, document specialized nursing interventions, advocate for patients, and maintain basic life support systems.
Who is a Critical Care Nurse?
Critical care nurses are professionals who offer direct and hands-on care for critically ill and injured patients in pre and postoperative medical settings. These nurses are tasked with assessing the risks and benefits of proposed medical interventions, rendering life-saving treatment in emergency situations, and nursing patients back to good health.
The nurses must have expertise in a wide range of medical and nursing specialities to render safe and effective care to patients who have serious injuries and acute life-threatening illnesses. They may also specialize in any area, such as surgery or cardiology.
These nurses work in all areas of the healthcare system, including the ICUs, progressive care units, coronary care units, burn units, step-down units, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, trauma centres, etc. They are employed in both public and private healthcare facilities.
How to Become a Critical Care Nurse in Canada?
To become a critical care nurse in Canada, you need to get the best education, earn licensure, and get certifications that enhance your career. Let us look at how to become a critical care nurse in Canada.
- Become a Registered Nurse: The first and most important step to becoming a critical care nurse is completing a bachelor’s nursing course. The study programs commonly take four years for all full-time students to complete.
- Once you have completed your nursing education, you become eligible to become a registered nurse.
- Nursing Licensure After completing your nursing education, you must also gain a license by taking the NCLEX-RN exam and meeting the state requirements to become eligible for this exam.
- This is a computer-generated test that students take to gain a nursing license. It is divided into four categories that include the foundations of nursing practice and also measures of nursing competency.
- Specialized Nursing Program: Nurses can also complete a specialized nursing program in critical care to become a nurse in the field. This will allow for an understanding of additional theories and evidence-based practices required in the field.
- Moreover, completing a program in critical care also helps in learning-problem solving, strategic thinking, improving communication skills, etc. You will also learn how to cope with the physical and emotional challenges that one faces as a critical care nurse.:
- After working for a while as a critical care nurse, you can also get a critical care certification that will add to your credentials.
- Acquiring a critical care nurse certification helps a student to become a better nursing professional and gain success in a quick period of time.
In the coming decade, employment opportunities for registered nurses are expected to grow at a higher rate than most occupations. The demand for healthcare services is increasing each day as the need continues to expand. Future job prospects in critical nursing are also expected to grow in the coming decade as there is a good share of the population suffering from actual life-threatening illnesses.
Some of the employment settings where this demand is expected to grow much faster than average are intensive care units, emergency departments, long-term healthcare centres, cardiac care units, cardiac rehabilitation centres, etc.
Critical Care Nursing Course in Canada:
If you wish to study this nursing course in Canada, then here is what you will be learning. This nursing course will help you to improve your knowledge and skills in caring for patients with acute critical conditions.
It will train you to build the capabilities and competencies needed to offer specific treatment plans for actual life-threatening illnesses, including personalized care planning, health education, and other follow-ups.
The critical care nursing course is particularly aimed at educating nurses to become proficient in working in critical care units. All interested nurses can improve their skills and knowledge by taking this program and making a career in this field.
Once a student completes this course, multiple career opportunities are opened. Apart from being specialist nurses in an intensive care unit, this course empowers nurses to acquire in-depth knowledge and understanding of critical illnesses, prevention, care and promotion of health.
Successful candidates can work in any healthcare establishment and provide specialized care with clinical decision-making and critical thinking.
Program Outcomes of Critical Care Nursing Courses in Canada:
The Critical Care study in Canada is a postgraduate program that enables nurses to offer competent care to critically ill patients and their families. Some of the program outcomes of this course are mentioned below.
- Completing this nursing study enables students to learn how to practice within the scope of legal, ethical, and professional standards. The students learn best practices in intensive care nursing comprehensively.
- It teaches students to form and maintain therapeutic relationships with families, and patients while allowing decision makers to streamline family-centred critical care.
- You can assess, monitor, and analyze data for patients using a multi-system approach. This helps in learning how to detect any deterioration in the patient’s condition, establishing priorities and planning interventions.
- This nursing course in Canada also helps in planning, implementing, evaluating, and documenting nursing interventions to achieve optimal patient outcomes. This helps in potential and acute life-threatening illnesses or end-of-life situations.
- The nursing course also teaches students to deliver the best healthcare to patients who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
- It teaches you to partner with interprofessional health care teams in offering care to patients and experiencing potential and life-threatening problems. Nursing students also handle end-of-life situations while achieving continuity of care and optimal patient outcomes.
- This is one of the nursing courses that also teach you evidence-based research practices for informing and adapting to nursing practice.
- Students learn how to use resources and strategies for responding to physical, environmental, and psychosocial stressors that affect the self and others in the field of nursing.
- Finally, the nursing program also teaches students to participate in reflective practices for enhancing competence in this specialized field.
What Does a Critical Care Nurse Do?
On a daily basis, a critical care nurse is asked to perform intensive care interventions and maintain life support systems for critically ill patients following injury, surgery, and life-threatening diseases. Nursing in Canada deals with identifying sudden changes in a patient’s condition while immediately providing emergency care.
All patients who are critically ill require frequent nursing assessments and monitoring because their condition can change quickly without any warning. Mostly, a critical care nurse is responsible for either one or two patients at a time because they need constant attention.
Some of the duties managed by a critical care nurse are:
- Critical care nurses work with complex patient assessments, carry out intensive medical therapies, and monitor patients.
- The medical condition of a critically ill patient can degrade quickly. Hence, these nurses work to change the healthcare plans and offer emergency care many times.
- Other duties of a critical care nurse include cleaning a patient’s wounds, monitoring life support equipment, and reacting to changes in a patient’s condition.
- Critical care nurses are also patient advocates. They ensure that the patient and their loved ones understand the realities of their medical condition so they can make informed choices.
It must be noted that nurses work with many patients and families that experience serious stress. They are responsible for offering serious medical care to patients while being sensitive, empathetic, and compassionate as they deal with medical and life-or-death situations.
The nurses must be prepared to handle a range of emotions that result from patient and family interactions. This is because they often have to make important decisions while also staying calm and caring.
Skills of a Critical Care Nurse:
Working in a critical care unit requires professionals to have strong leadership capabilities and decision-making skills. These skills help to work in a high-stress and quick-paced environment including an emergency and an ICU unit.
The healthcare professionals who work in a critical care setting should be familiar with medical equipment, including cardiac and respiratory monitors. Pursuing and completing specialized nursing programs enables a critical care nurse to learn the below-mentioned skills.
- Critical Thinking: Most medical emergency situations require nurses to make important medical decisions. This is for serving patients who require close attention to detail so that any errors can be avoided. The students are trained to take these decisions when there is a need.
- Communication: Nurses are important communication links for the patients, their families, and doctors. Hence, they are taught to master their communication skills as well.
- Endurance: Nurses who work in critical care settings should be able to perform important tasks while remaining on their feet for an entire shift. Hence, nurses are trained to foster physical endurance as well.
- Resilience: Many nursing professionals also need emotional strength and resilience to take important decisions. Becoming a critical care nurse enables professionals to become mentally resilient so that the challenges brought by this challenging profession can be faced head-on.
- Compassion: The students are also taught the importance of being compassionate. These nurses maintain empathy and sensitivity towards patients and families.
- Confidence: It is necessary for nurses to be confident in their knowledge and skills to ensure the right medical treatment. Pursuing this nursing course in Canada trains students to exercise confidence whenever there is a need.
Purpose of a Critical Care Nursing Program:
Working as a nurse in the intensive care unit can be a challenging task. This is both physically and mentally. Some of the physical demands are working on your feet for long hours, lifting patients when needed, and moving them from one place to another.
The study of this field of nursing in Canada trains a student to move unstable and at-risk patients. It also helps in developing analytical skills and making quick decisions under extreme pressure. To become successful in this field of nursing, a student must be able to bring both clinical and non-clinical skills to the table.
The purpose of this nursing program is significant because it helps students achieve the below-mentioned skills.
- Gaining an understanding of medical equipment and technology
- Understanding physiology and anatomy
- Creating and implementing care plans
- Learning how to use medical devices, including catheters and feeding tubes.
- Knowing how to use medicines, including their side effects and dosing calculations.
- Knowing when to use life support systems.
- Understanding patient safety and medical care rules.
- Perfecting communication skills and the ability to work in a medical team.
The job prospects in the field of critical care nursing will be on the rise in the coming years. Some of the healthcare settings in which jobs will be available easily include cardiac catheter labs, emergency departments, intensive care units, and long-term healthcare centres.
If you wish to become a successful nurse, then now is the right time to take the right step and pursue specialized education in this field.