Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Travel Nursing Jobs

Critical-care nursing, or Intensive-Care-Unit (ICU) nursing, takes an understanding mind, quick thinking and requires focus and stamina.

Find the best paid Intensive Care Unit (ICU) jobs
Start your easy and fast search of Stability Healthcare’s nationwide Intensive Care Unit (ICU) travel nursing jobs here. Our mission is to provide the adventure and exploration of travel, along with the comforts of home!

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Job Description

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurses treat acutely ill patients with life-threatening conditions, in settings requiring continuous vigilance and high-intensity therapies. ICU nurses can specialize in a variety of disciplines including medical, surgical, cardiac, burn or Neuro ICU.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Job Requirements

  • Active BLS and ACLS from the American Heart Association
  • Active professional license within the state of practice
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), NIHSS (stroke care certification) and Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) credentials are recommended and may be required for specific travel nurse positions
  • Other specialty-related certifications are preferred and may be required for specific travel nurse positions
  • Critical Care experience in a hospital setting
  • Minimum of 2 years of experience as an RN



How to Become an ICU Nurse

If you have the drive to help people by changing or saving their lives, then becoming an ICU nurse could be a potential career choice for you. But ICU nurses are a special make of people — not everyone can handle the pressure of an intensive care unit and the chance to save a life.

But if you believe you have what it takes to fill the shoes of a real-life hero, here’s what you need to know about pursuing a career as an ICU nurse.

What is the Exact Role of an ICU Nurse?

These types of nurses are absolutely crucial to the successful operation and management of any hospital and most importantly, the intensive care unit.

The ICU’s primary focus is to take care of people who have suffered some form of trauma, a life-threatening accident, had major surgery, organ failure, heart attack, and stroke. The ICU also looks after cancer patients who have reached a very critical point in their care.

The role of an ICU nurse is to oversee the care of a patient in an ICU unit by continually reading and monitoring their vital signs. Often times, a patient’s life falls into their hands. If their vitals are deteriorating rapidly, it’s the ICU nurse’s job to notify the right person, in the best time-frame. In some cases, an ICU nurse will have to take an intervention into their own hands. They are also required to speak with family members and doctors on a regular basis.

Most patients who go into ICU are in critical condition. Some of the most common conditions an ICU nurse will face include:

  • Post-operative patients who have received an organ transplant or open-heart surgery
  • Trauma patients who are recovering from near-fatal incidences such as a car accident, shooting, or assault
  • Infectious patients who are suffering from dangerous conditions such as sepsis
  • Stroke patients who are in need of post-operative care and physical therapy
  • Cancer patients admitted for recovery after intensive chemotherapy, transplant surgery, or infection

The role of an ICU nurse is an important and stressful job — no doubt about it. But it can also be very rewarding. Learning to handle the stress of a critical moment and find your focus is essential.

Critical Traits of an ICU Nurse

So, in order to become an ICU nurse what kind of person do you need to be? Some of the over-arching qualities include:

  • An ability to handle the pressure of life-and-death situations
  • Being a good communicator
  • Being a true team player
  • Being able to multi-task
  • Having commitment and dedication to working long shifts
  • Attention-to-detail
  • A knack for critical thinking
  • Above-par time management skills

Aside from these personal traits, it’s also important that an ICU nurse is in good physical health. This job requires you to be on your feet for many hours a day, so physical stamina is part-and-parcel of the position.

Dealing with Difficult Situations

The are many challenges to ICU nursing. The atmosphere of intensive care units can be super-charged one minute, and relatively somber the next. Being able to separate yourself emotionally from this vast range in work atmosphere is crucial.

Ultimately, an ICU nurse has to remember how important their job is and not let their own personal feelings come in the way of a life-and-death decision. But this is not to say you cannot feel or express empathy. In fact, this is another important part of the job. ICU nurses often deal with traumatic, end-of-life situations. You should be able to offer both psychological support and empathy to family members.

The same goes for applying or withholding medical care when a patient has a living will in place. If their wish is to not be kept on life support, it is your job to obey their wishes. This may feel like a completely unnatural part of the job. It goes against everything nurses are taught about saving lives. But if this is a legal wish, it must be honored.

Benefits Of Traveling With Stability Healthcare

According to national data, the median annual salary for an ICU nurse is approximately $75,119 as of April 2020. However, this amount does range between $67,691 and $81,623. ICU nurses are also privy to a host of benefits including health insurance, paid leave, stipend and 401k plans.

In order to prepare for a long-lasting and truly fulfilling career as an ICU nurse, you will have to meet a number of different qualifications, first. Ideally, you will need to study a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. This should be with an accredited university with a nurse educator, including specialized training in life-threatening conditions.

However, a BSN is not always necessary. You can also study an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and will have to pass the NCLEX-RN national exam that qualifies you as a registered nurse. You will also need to gain experience working in a critical care setting, then take an exam to become a critical care registered nurse (CCRN).

Some of the highly specialized, additional skills an ICU nurse should hold include:

  • Advanced cardiac life support
  • Life support
  • Trauma care
  • Telemetry
  • Critical care
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Patient and family education
  • Discharge planning

Essentially, a bachelor’s degree lays the important groundwork for a career in nursing. Much of this additional skill is learned through additional courses and most importantly, real-life work experience.

Travel Nurse Salary & Benefits

Frequently Asked Questions

What is critical care nursing?

Critical Treatment Registered Nurses (ICU/CCU) offer care to critically ill patients who need constant observation. ICU patients have serious medical disorders that necessitate rigorous treatment regimens. Assignments for travel nurses in critical care normally last for 13 weeks, with the possibility of an extension. A critical care traveler’s flexible schedule still leaves plenty of downtimes to take advantage of a contingency assignment’s benefits. Upon request, we will make room for additional people, animals, or both, and we’ll do our best to adhere to any special requirements. To discuss your ideal nursing position and the contract, get in touch with Stability Healthcare. We’ll do our best to make it a reality.

Which certifications are best for Intensive Care Unit nurses?

Most healthcare employers require basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) certification. Additional certifications such as PALS and Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse (CHRN) are sometimes required based on the particular position and unit in the hiring facility. Certification through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses will enhance your resume for better employment.

Are there any critical care travel nurse jobs available?

Healthcare employer always seeks talented ICU (intensive care units) travelers. When there are urgent needs for healthcare staff, critical care nurses are usually in high demand nationwide, with increasingly higher rates than normal. Please contact Stability Healthcare for details on urgent travel nursing ICU positions.

Career Benefits

If you’re interested in a career as an ICU nurse, Stability Healthcare is here to help you take your nursing career to the next level.

If you’re already a trained and experienced ICU nurse, we also offer exciting travel nursing opportunities to help broaden your experience and knowledge. You can bring those life-saving skills to healthcare facilities in need all over the country! If you’re interested in a new career challenge, explore our ICU travel nursing jobs for more…

Travel Nursing Reviews

Jennifer, RN

The response time from my recruiter and nurse specialist is amazing! They both have been so great to work with on my first assignment out in California!!! Chad and Samantha both are super caring and very responsive! I already extended my contract with the hospital because of the smooth process. They made the transition from Florida to California a lot loss stressful than I imagined. Would definitely recommend them both!!!

Tammy D.

My recruiter, and other staff I have had the pleasure of interacting with, are all so friendly and helpful. My recruiter is responsive, and even reached out while she was on vacation to check on me! I’ve worked with other agencies in the past, but Stability is next level when it comes to making your travel nursing experience as seamless as possible! Special shout out to Lindsay (best recruiter ever) and Tracy. Amazing people to work with.

Brittany J.

My recruiter is very responsive and personable. I have NEVER had any issues with them!! This agency even has PTO! None of my co workers with other agencies have this benefit!! Also the rates are equal or higher than most other agencies!! Everything feels more like family than business and for that I would choose stability over any other agency!! I am so happy I chose to work with them!

Sopheare C.

My recruiter Amanda is amazing and always timely with her responses. Debbie who is my nurse experience specialist who is with me all times of the contract is truly awesome. Love how responsive she is and will answer any and all my questions. Big thanks to Jesse my compliance coordinator for making all the appointments and getting me travel ready. Can’t thank my team enough for all they do. Any question or issue I have they resolve right away. And I love that they breakdown each contract into a spread so you know exactly what your getting for the terms of the contract.

Sara R.

I have been incredibly impressed by the professionalism, ease of communication, ability to have all requirements for onboarding fulfilled in a timely manner, and just overall outstanding service. Lindsay Hernandez is my particular recruiter and she has been a pleasure to work with, as well as all the team members at Stability. I’m looking forward to staying with them for my next assignment. I highly recommend them to my nursing friends, and anyone looking to travel as a nurse!

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