Introduction to Critical Care Nursing

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History of Critical Care Nursing
–    Although there have always been very ill and severely injured patients, the concept of critical care is relatively modern.
–    As advances have been made in medicine and technology, patient care has become more complex.
–    To provide appropriate care, nurses needed specialized knowledge and skills, and the care delivery mechanisms needed to develop to support the patients’ needs for continuous monitoring and treatment.
Definition of Critical Care Nursing

–    Critical care nursing is that specialty within nursing that deals specifically with human responses to life-threatening problems.
–    A critical care nurse is a professional nurse who is responsible for ensuring that acutely and critically ill patients and their families receive optimal care.
–    Critically ill patients are defined as those patients who are at high risk for actual or potential life threatening health problems.
–    The more critically ill the patient is, the more likely he or she is to be highly at risk, unstable and complex, thereby requiring intense nursing care.
Where Critical Care Nurses Work
–    Critical care nurses work wherever critically ill patients are found – intensive care units, pediatric ICUs, neonatal ICUs, cardiac care units, cardiac catheter labs, emergency departments and recovery rooms.
–    Increasingly, critical care nurses work in home healthcare, nursing schools, outpatient surgery centers and clinics.
What Critical Care Nurses Do
–    Help the patient obtain necessary care.
–    Respect the values, beliefs and rights of the patient.
–    Monitor and safeguard the quality of care the patient receives.
–    Act as a liaison between the patient, the patient’s family and other healthcare professionals.
–    Represent the patient in accordance with the patient’s choices.
–    Intercede for patients who cannot speak for themselves in situations that require immediate action.
The Roles of Critical Care Nurses
–    Critical care nurses work in a wide variety of settings, filling many roles. They are bedside clinicians, nurse educators, nurse researchers, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners.
–    With the onset of managed care and the resulting migration of patients to alternative settings, critical care nurses are caring for patients who are more ill than ever before.
–    CCNS is an expert clinician in a particular specialty critical care in this case.
–     The CCNS is responsible for the identification, intervention and management of clinical problems to improve care for patients and families.
–    They provide direct patient care, including assessing, diagnosing, planning, intervention and evaluation.

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