Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) nurses are registered nurses who specialize in caring for critically ill patients who either require surgery or are recovering from surgery. The SICU is a fast-paced, high acuity critical care environment that can provide a very rewarding experience for nurses who are passionate about helping critically ill patients. Due to a shortage of qualified critical care nurses, surgical ICU nurses are always in high demand.
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Surgical ICU Nurse FAQs
How Much Do Surgical ICU Nurse Jobs Pay?
For jobs available on Vivian as of Thursday, June 24th 2021, the average weekly salary for a Surgical ICU Nurse is $2,276, but can pay up to $3,592 per week.
- min - $842
- avg - $2,276
- max - $3,592
Where do Surgical Intensive Care nurses work?
Surgical ICU nurses primarily work in hospitals with surgical departments, which can include teaching hospitals. They may also work at surgical centers, especially if the facility has an ICU.
What skills make a good Surgical Intensive Care nurse?
Good SICU nurses possess advanced critical care skills and technical ICU nursing skills to perform or assist with key procedures. They also have thorough knowledge of the contraindications and side effects of many types of medications. Critical thinking skills are paramount to anticipate needed interventions and quickly respond to and fix acute problems. This requires superior assessment and verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and the ability to remain calm under pressure. SICU environments heavily rely on teamwork, so good SICU nurses are very team-oriented with a strong willingness to collaborate within an interdisciplinary team. Time management and organization are other vital skills, as well as compassion and empathy carefully combined with self-care.
How to become a Surgical Intensive Care Travel Nurse
Becoming a surgical intensive care travel nurse requires education, examination, and licensing to become a registered nurse. The minimum educational requirement is an associate degree, but some facilities prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, from an accredited nursing program. Graduates pass the NCLEX-RN exam and complete all licensing requirements to become a registered nurse.
All RNs complete Basic Life Support certification and SICU nurses also complete Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certification. Although not required, SICU nurses may pursue Critical Care Registered Nurse certification through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses to heighten their career advancement. Most travel SICU nursing positions require one to two years of recent critical care nursing experience and may require this experience to be in an acute care SICU setting.
What does a Surgical Intensive Care nurse do?
Surgical ICU nurses are specially trained to care for critically ill surgical patients, which may include preoperative, postoperative, and post-trauma injury management. They provide intensive care for unstable patients, which may include those who are in shock, on mechanical ventilation, an organ transplant recipient, or recovering from major surgeries with high potential for complications. Surgical ICU nurses continuously monitor patients and their vital signs to identify any signs of complications and immediately respond to negative changes in their conditions. Other tasks SICU nurses might perform include:
Examining, cleaning, and dressing surgical wounds
Ensuring infection control measures are followed
Checking and managing multiple drains, tubes, and lines
Assisting physicians with surgical and medically necessary procedures
Performing EKG, hemodynamic, and Spo2 monitoring
Providing life-saving interventions and resuscitation
Administration and documentation of all prescribed and prn medications
Updating plans of care according to patients’ conditions and progress