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Besides being certified in advanced cardiac life support, what other classes do I need as part of training for critical care?



Dear Donna,

I have been a technician for the past two years and a nurse extern in a trauma hospital. I was offered a new graduate position in an ICU, pending passing of my boards and taking critical care classes. Besides being certified in advanced cardiac life support, what other classes do I need as part of critical care? I live in northern New Jersey and do not know where to start my search.

Needs Critical Care Courses

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Needs Critical Care Courses,

It sounds like you are on a role. If an employer suggested you take critical care courses, I would ask them what type of classes they would suggest, if they will accept online versus live classroom-based courses and if they recommend a source or provider for the live classes. There may be local offerings in your immediate area.

There are numerous critical care online CE courses available at

Also contact the national office and the New Jersey chapter of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses ( Visit their website and call them concerning course offerings.

Once you start your new job, join and participate in the AACN. Attend area meetings as a guest for now. When there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. This also will show your commitment and motivation to acclimate into the critical care nursing arena.

Best wishes,


About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit

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