Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Critical Care Nursing

If you are to describe the job of a nurse, what comes to mind first? For some people, they would probably think that a nurse is someone who provides the care you need when being hospitalized, while other would see a nurse as someone who works side by side with physicians in providing care. There could be truth on those answers, but there is actually more to nursing than just giving care to patients. And if you think you have seen what a nurse can do, better think again.

There is this specialty within nursing that deals specifically with human responses to life-threatening situations and that is critical care nursing. As the name implies, critical care nursing is indeed a serious job that requires all your skills to be able to save the lives of those people who are in a life-threatening condition. As a critical care nurse, you should be a licensed professional nurse who is responsible in making sure that acutely and critically ill patients as well as their parents receive the best possible care.

To get a clearer picture as to how grave critical care nursing is, let us define what a critically ill patient is. Critically ill patient is someone who is at high risk for actual or potential life-threatening health condition. The more serious the condition of the patient is, the more extremely vulnerable, unstable, and complex he or she becomes and the more extreme and watchful nursing care is required. Being in a situation like that, where there’s no room for errors, it is just right to get the right training and exposure to obtain the skills needed to be able to respond to the specific needs of critically ill patients.

Critical care nursing are given in the hospital setting where critically ill patients are being treated and where the real action is, such as in the intensive care units, cardiac catheter labs, telemetry units or ICUs, pediatric intensive care units, neonatal ICUs, cardiac care units, progressive care units, emergency departments and recovery rooms. In addition, critically care nursing can also be provided in home healthcare, managed care organizations, outpatient surgery centers and clinic, and nursing schools.

Because critical care nursing requires stern expertise, critical care nurses have gone through an intensive practice in settings where patients need complex assessment, high-intensity therapies and intervention, and continue nursing care. With constant exposure to these situations, a critical care nurse will be able to work in different settings. They can be bedside clinicians, nurse educators, nurse researchers, clinical nurse specialists, nurse managers, and nurse practitioners. With the arrival of managed care and the resulting transfer of patients from hospital settings to healthcare institutions, critical care nursing is more in demand.

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