How much does an Intensive Care Unit Nurse make in Memphis, TN?

Average Intensive Care Unit Nurse Salary

High Confidence

$2,603/week

The average salary for an Intensive Care Unit Nurse in Memphis, TN is $2,603 per week. This is 11% lower than the Tennessee average of $2,882.

Estimate based on 408 active jobs in the last 90 days.

What is an ICU RN?

Intensive care unit nurses, also called ICU nurses, work closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals in a critical care nursing role. They typically work in hospital ICUs where seriously ill patients receive specialized care, such as intensive monitoring and advanced life support. ICU RNs must have highly proficient technical nursing skills and be extremely comfortable working in life-or-death situations, which are some factors that impact their salaries.

ICU nurses are registered nurses who specialize in providing critical care to patients with life-threatening illnesses or acute conditions caused by serious injuries. They also may treat post-operative patients requiring intensive care during recovery. ICU nurses may work in numerous types of ICUs, including MICUs, SICUs, PICUs, NICUs, and CVICUs, among others.

Prospective ICU nurses must first complete the educational requirements to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam to become registered nurses. This requires earning an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a nursing program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). However, earning a BSN is becoming a requirement for nurses working in critical care areas like an ICU.

How an ICU RN salary is based

All prospective ICU nurses must already possess their RN license, but no other special licenses are required. On average, ICU nurses are paid a higher salary than nurses in non-critical care settings, but this salary is based on several factors.

Education level is a primary basis for the starting salary of an ICU nurse. Although RNs can enter ICU nursing with an ADN, those with a BSN earn a higher average wage. Plus, BSN-educated nurses tend to rise more quickly in the ranks and pay scale. Of course, ICU RNs with advanced degrees demand an even higher salary than those with BSNs.

Some facilities hire newly graduated RNs without any previous experience or professional certifications and train them in ICU nursing, but the salaries of entry-level nurses without these qualifications will reflect this. Nurses who already possess relevant experience and skills obtained through years on the job and specialty certifications will see a higher salary base.

Key certifications for ICU nurses include Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certifications. Although professional certification isn’t usually required, earning Critical Care RN credentials from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is a good career move and certified RNs typically earn significantly more than noncertified nurses.

Location also impacts base pay for ICU nurses, which includes work setting and geographical location of the facility of employment. Traditionally, ICU RNs work in inpatient hospital positions, which pay the highest in respect of location. However, the location of the ICU in the hospital also may make a difference in an ICU nurse’s pay. For example, more specialized CVICU nurses may earn more than other ICU nurses, but ICU nurses who can float between several areas of a hospital often earn the most. Geographically, some states pay more than others and urban areas tend to pay more than rural areas but the cost of living can be a big factor in areas with higher salary bases.

How to increase your ICU RN salary

Obtaining an ICU nursing certification makes you more hirable because it shows you have the knowledge to take on the difficult responsibilities found in intensive care. Professional certification can also impact salary increases, so it’s financially advisable, even if a hospital doesn’t require it.

There are numerous professional certifications appropriate for ICU nurses. The AACN offers three critical care certifications divided by patient population. ICU RNs can take any of the three certification exams after completing 1,750 hours in direct care of acutely/critically ill patients within a specific population in a two-year period or a minimum of 2,000 hours in a five-year period. Certifications include:

  • CCRN (Adult) is for traditional RNs specializing in the critical care of adult patients, including in various ICUs or trauma units

  • CCRN (Pediatric) is for RNs specializing in the critical care of youth up to age 21, including in PICUs 

  • CCRN (Neonatal) is for RNs specializing in the critical care of newborns during the neonatal period, including in NICUs

Like other nursing positions, ICU nurses who further their education also increase their salary potential. ICU RNs who earn graduate degrees may pursue advanced practice board certification, such as an acute care nurse practitioner or a certified nurse specialist. APRNs see increased salaries and may pursue other professional certifications that could increase salaries even further.

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What cities in Tennessee pay the most for Intensive Care Unit Nurse?

CityAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Paris, Tennessee$4,021$5,945
Dickson, Tennessee$4,017$5,024
Columbia, Tennessee$3,828$4,651
Shelbyville, Tennessee$3,714$4,450
Tullahoma, Tennessee$3,527$4,505
Fayetteville, Tennessee$3,412$3,550
Kingsport, Tennessee$3,319$4,312
Bristol, Tennessee$3,284$4,035
Murfreesboro, Tennessee$3,254$5,193
Mcminnville, Tennessee$3,242$3,967

Top Intensive Care Unit Nurse Jobs

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

  • Memphis
  • Memphis, TN
    • 3x12 hrs
Travel
1 day ago

$2,972/wk

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

  • Methodist University
  • Memphis, TN
    • 3x12 hrs
Travel
1 day ago

$1,600/wk

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

  • Methodist South
  • Memphis, TN
    • 3x12 hrs
Travel
1 day ago

$1,600/wk

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

  • Methodist North
  • Memphis, TN
    • 3x12 hrs
Travel
1 day ago

$1,600/wk

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

Travel Nurse RN - ICU - Intensive Care Unit

  • Methodist University
  • Memphis, TN
    • 3x12 hrs
Travel
1 day ago

$1,554/wk

What are the highest paying Agencies for Intensive Care Unit Nurse jobs in Memphis?

Average Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
American Traveler$5,601$5,601
iDeal Personnel$5,512$5,616
Jackson Nurse Professionals$4,700$4,700
CrossMed$4,536$4,536
Ethos Medical Staffing$4,147$4,147
ADEX Healthcare Staffing LLC$4,085$4,348
Ardor Health Solutions$4,057$4,276
Junxion Med Staffing$3,883$4,566
Tact Medical Staffing$3,861$3,861
Triage Staffing$3,850$3,850