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Critical Care or Progressive Care Nursing: Which Career in Nursing Is Best for You?

Find out how to choose from these nursing careers and how you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Nurses are in high demand in the United States, and those with a bachelor’s degree in nursing have their choice from a range of rewarding nursing careers. When you’re starting your career in nursing, there are big choices to make that can impact your career track for years to come. If you’re ready to enroll in a nursing school program to make the transition from being a registered nurse to earning your BSN, find out if a career in critical care or progressive care nursing is right for you.

Choosing the Career in Nursing That’s Right for You

The job outlook for today’s nursing professionals is strong and is expected to grow by more than 12% from 2018 to 2028. In 2018, pay for registered nurses ranged from $50,800 to $106,530, with a median pay of $71,730, making these nursing careers both lucrative and rewarding.1

Critical Care or Progressive Care Nursing: Which Career in Nursing Is Best for You?

Acute and critical care nurses provide care for patients who are in critical condition and potentially close to death. These patients are adults and children who due to serious injury or illness are not in stable condition, not conscious, and have unstable vital signs. Critical care nurses can work in specialized intensive care units (ICUs) for patients with burns, head injuries, or other life-threatening conditions.

ICU nurses are in high demand, but must have the right education, training, and experience to work in settings that can be both emotionally and physically challenging. In addition, nurses must gain at least two years of experience in an ICU setting before they can sit for the Critical Care Registered Nurse certification examination administered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACCN).

Nurses in progressive care units (PCU) provide a different but just as valuable form of care for hospital patients. A PCU serves as a bridge between an ICU and a medical-surgical unit.2 While a patient in a PCU no longer needs critical care, they typically still require a high level of nursing care and extra surveillance. PCUs can vary widely from offering specialized needs for cardiac, respiratory, or stroke patients, to offering care for patients with a variety of needs. The overall goal of a PCU nurse is similar to that of other nurses: to provide cost-effective, high-quality, safe patient care.

When choosing whether to pursue a career in nursing in an ICU or a PCU, a nurse should consider factors such as the nursing skills and nursing education needed in each setting, as well as personal abilities and career goals.

Choosing the Right BSN Degree Program for You

If you’re an RN ready to begin pursuing your BSN degree, Walden University’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program can get you on your way. Nursing careers are demanding, and you may not think you have time to go back to school, but with Walden’s convenient online platform you can gain the education and skills you need. Online nursing schools are the perfect option for busy RNs who want to earn their BSN degree. At Walden, courses are taught by a teaching faculty that is 100% doctorally prepared and their program is accredited  by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Walden also offers two learning formats in their Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, allowing you to choose a course-based or competency-based option.

If you’re ready to earn your bachelor’s in nursing online and expand your knowledge and skills in nursing, find out how you can make it happen when you enroll with Walden.

Walden University is an accredited online college offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program with accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,