Neuro ICU nurses, also called neurocritical care nurses, are registered nurses who specialize in treating patients with life-threatening neurological problems. Patients are closely monitored, receive around the clock care, and may suffer from stroke, post-operative brain tumor, traumatic brain injuries, or various neurological illnesses, such as encephalitis, meningitis, or Parkinson’s disease. To ensure undivided attention to the most critical patients, some facilities limit the number of patients a neuro ICU nurse cares for each shift.
Neuro ICU nurse salary
The average salary for a staff intensive care unit nurse with neuroscience skills is $71,000. This works out to about $1,365 per week or $34.13 per hour when working a 40-hour work week.
Travel neuro ICU nurses can expect to earn an average gross weekly salary of $1,658, per 2019 NurseFly salary data. Weekly salaries include a taxed wage and untaxed stipends for housing, meals, and other incidentals for travel nurses who can claim a permanent tax-home.
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Neuro ICU Nurse FAQs
What are the best agencies for Neuro ICU Nurse jobs?
The agencies on NurseFly that currently have the most Neuro ICU Nurse jobs are LRS Healthcare (25), MedPro Healthcare Staffing (24), and KPG Healthcare (23).
What does a Neuro ICU nurse do?
Some neuro ICU duties are similar to those of other critical care nursing positions, but there are also tasks specific to caring for patients with serious neurological issues. Adverse vital sign changes aren’t always evident when neuro patients, so neuro ICU nurses rely on specific neuro assessments for conscious and unconscious patients. These assessments are performed frequently, often hourly, or more frequently depending on the patient’s needs.
Neuro ICU nurses may also perform delicate bedside procedures or assist physicians with procedures, such as inserting central lines, drains in the skull to relieve pressure, and pulmonary artery catheters. Other duties specific to neuro ICU nursing include:
Monitoring for neurological decline and intervening immediately
Ensuring life support equipment like ventilators are functioning properly
Measuring intracerebral pressure
Managing extraventricular drains
Administering medication and IVs
Assisting in emergency procedures in response to changes in patients’ conditions
Explaining complex medical conditions to patients and their loved ones
Assisting in end of life care
Facilitating brain death testing
Overseeing organ donation and procurement
Where do Neuro ICU nurses work?
Neuro ICU nurses generally work at hospitals large enough to have a neuro intensive care unit, which often are large academic hospitals. They work with patients with all types of neurological issues, including brain tumors, hemorrhages, strokes, epilepsy, head or spinal trauma, and central nervous system infections. Neuro nurses may also work in a combination trauma/neuro ICU for patients with traumatic brain injuries.
What skills make a good Neuro ICU nurse?
Neuro intensive care nurses have advanced critical care training, knowledge, and skills. They’re skilled at learning new concepts quickly and are continually seeking advanced education in basic neuroanatomy, neuro assessment, neurophysiology, and emergency neuro resuscitation. They also possess specialized knowledge of neurological tools, such as electroencephalography, and specific body mechanics, such as intracranial pressure. Neuro ICU nurses have superior verbal and nonverbal communication skills to communicate with patients who may have lost the ability to speak. They have excellent teamwork skills to work with a diverse set of healthcare professionals staffing the neuro ICU. Good neuro ICU nurses also possess healthy doses of compassion, empathy, and patience.
How to become a Neuro ICU Travel Nurse
Neuro ICU travel nurses must be registered nurses, which requires education from an accredited nursing program. While the minimum requirement is an associate degree, some facilities prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Graduates must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam and complete all licensing requirements to become an RN. Neuro ICU nurses must also complete Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certifications.
Some facilities also require professional certification. RNs obtain credentialing by passing the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse exam offered by the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses after completing two years of full-time direct or indirect neuroscience nursing experience. Most travel neuro ICU jobs require one to two years of recent experience in an acute care neuro ICU setting.