Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

What Is Progressive Care Nursing?

Moving into progressive care nursing can be good for your nursing career.

As opportunities in the nursing field continue to grow,1 hospital settings can offer a wide range of nursing career paths, including outpatient care, emergency room nursing, and surgical nursing. One area that nurses looking to advance their career may want to explore is progressive care.

What Is Progressive Care?

Progressive care refers to care provided to hospital patients who need more monitoring and assessment than patients on the surgical/medical floor but whose conditions aren’t so unstable that they need to be in the ICU. In other words, it is an intermediary level of hospital care.

What Is Progressive Care Nursing?

Progressive care units are sometimes referred to as step-down units, intermediate care units, transitional care units, or telemetry units. In general, they help reduce the number of ICU beds and the costs associated with the ICU without compromising patient care.

What Does a Progressive Care Nurse Do?

Progressive care nurses are skilled at monitoring and assessing acutely ill patients. These patients are often on multiple medications and are at an increased risk for complications. It’s the job of progressive care nurses to monitor critical vital signs, detect any changes, and initiate life-saving interventions if needed.

Many progressive care nurses work on site. However, a growing number are assuming roles as telemetry nurses, meaning they monitor and assess patients off site, using technology.

What Is the Job Outlook for Progressive Care Nursing?

Progressive care nursing certification is a credential that requires applicants to be a practicing RN or APRN.2 Because progressive care nursing requires an advanced skill set, an increasing number of employers are seeking progressive care certified nurses (PCCNs) or those who have comparable experience and education.

Nursing, in general, is a field that is growing much faster than average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 15 percent in the coming years and one of the reasons is the growing number of patients with chronic conditions.1

How Can You Become a Progressive Care Nurse?

Becoming a nurse with the qualifications to work in a progressive care unit requires both experience with acutely and/or critically ill patients and a strong understanding of nursing. And one of the best ways to strengthen that knowledge is to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN degree).

If you’re already an RN, a bachelor’s-level nursing degree may be more attainable than you might think. That’s because online nursing schools can help you go from RN to BSN in a way that accommodates your schedule. In many online RN-to-BSN programs, you can take courses from anywhere with internet access and complete practice experiences close to home. In addition, online BSN programs offer you the flexibility to complete your coursework at whatever time of day is most convenient for you. That means you can attend nursing school while continuing to work full time.

Online education has made completing a college-level nursing program more possible than ever before. It’s a great way to advance your education and gain the skills you’ll need to move your career toward progressive care nursing.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,