Most Popular Articles

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Getting involved in policy and politics

Oestberg, Fredrik

Nursing Critical Care. 8(3):48, May 2013.

By knowing how the political system works and which strategies can effectively influence policy, any nurse can become an advocate at the local, state, or federal level.

Caring for patients with burn injuries

Culleiton, Alicia L.; Simko, Lynn M.

Nursing Critical Care. 8(1):14-22, January 2013.

Caring for a patient with severe burn injuries offers many challenges for critical care nurses. Find out about various types of burns and providing initial resuscitative care for a patient if treatment in a designated burn center facility or burn ICU isn't possible.

Myasthenia gravis and myasthenic crisis

Vacca, Vincent M. Jr.

Nursing Critical Care. 12(5):38-46, September 2017.

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is the most commonly encountered autoimmune disease of the postsynaptic neuromuscular junction of skeletal muscles, affecting an estimated 700,000 individuals worldwide. Approximately 15% to 20% of patients with MG will experience a myasthenic crisis (MC), typically within 2 years of diagnosis. Nurses must be knowledgeable about this disease and prepared to assist with pharmacologic testing and/or MC to ensure maximum safety for patients with MG before, during, and after evaluation.

Burn injuries in the ICU: A case scenario approach

Simko, Lynn Coletta; Culleiton, Alicia L.

Nursing Critical Care. 12(2):12-22, March 2017.

This article uses a case scenario to review various types of burn injuries, burn pathophysiology, and what nurses need to know to provide comprehensive assessment and resuscitative care to patients with this type of injury.

Delirium in critical care patients

Laske, Rita Ann; Stephens, Barbara

Nursing Critical Care. 11(1):18-23, January 2016.

Delirium can impact up to 80% of CCU patients and increases their length of stay and cost of hospitalization. Often, delirium may be misdiagnosed as dementia, depression, or other psychiatric disorders.

Keeping pace: Understanding temporary transvenous cardiac pacing

Gibson, Jennifer A.

Nursing Critical Care. 9(5):20-27, September 2014.

A temporary, ventricular transvenous pacemaker (TVPM) is an invasive intervention option to manage unstable cardiac dysrhythmias. TVPMs can also be associated with serious risks.

Encephalitis in adults: Outcomes in critical care

Vacca, Vincent M. Jr.

Nursing Critical Care. 11(2):14-22, March 2016.

Encephalitis can lead to alterations in level of consciousness, cognition, and behavior as well as fever, headache, seizures, cranial nerve disorders, and motor deficits. Despite advances in technology and pharmacology, encephalitis remains challenging to diagnose and difficult to treat.

Inflammatory mechanisms associated with COPD: A principle-based concept analysis

Conley, Patricia B.; Kelechi, Teresa J.

Nursing Critical Care. 12(3):24-30, May 2017.

Identification of the attributes, antecedents, and outcomes of inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is essential. Studies examining the mediators of inflammation have investigated the physiologic, cellular, and molecular causes, but none of the findings are conclusive. This principle-based concept analysis of debilitating pulmonary inflammation focuses on identifying the mediators that initiate and exacerbate chronic COPD. Determining the exact mediators will help develop treatments to better target the detrimental pathogenesis of inflammation in COPD. Nurses, working together with other healthcare scientists, can improve healthcare delivery and quality of life for their patients through future research.

Acute ischemic stroke: The golden hour

Anderson, Jane A.

Nursing Critical Care. 11(3):28-36, May 2016.

Acute ischemic stroke is a medical emergency resulting from an embolic or thrombotic occlusion of an intracranial artery. This article provides acute care nurses with a summary of recent updates on the rapid evaluation and workup for patient selection and treatment with I.V. fibrinolysis.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: A review

Trinsey, Ashley

Nursing Critical Care. 12(4):16-23, July 2017.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a mechanical circulatory support device that is used when the heart and/or lung functions are affected by severe disease or organ dysfunction. ECMO therapy provides temporary, lifesaving support to the body until surgical intervention or more permanent treatments can be provided. This article reviews the two main types of ECMO therapy along with therapeutic indications, function, and management of critically ill adult patients using ECMO.

Zika virus: What nurses need to know

Coyle, Amanda L.

Nursing Critical Care. 11(4):30-34, July 2016.

Local, state, national, and international healthcare organizations are rapidly scaling up their response to the recent Zika virus outbreak. Nurses must stay abreast of the evolving body of knowledge surrounding Zika virus infection in order to provide optimal care to their patients.

Shhh! Too much hospital noise slows recovery

Lim, Fidelindo A.

Nursing Critical Care. 9(2):43-47, March 2014.

Monotonous call bells, oscillating conversations, and clanking equipment disturb patients' rest, especially in the ICU and operating rooms. But besides being irritating, excessive noise causes sleep deprivation, which can lead to hypertension, an increase in cardiovascular disease, impaired immune function, attention and memory deficits, depression and even death.

Acute venous thromboembolism in critically ill patients

Hage, Anna Ver

Nursing Critical Care. 10(2):22-30, March 2015.

A 68-year-old patient has a deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism (VTE). He undergoes emergent catheter embolectomy to remove the thrombus. His potentially fatal diagnosis, which kills 100,000 U.S. patients annually, is prevented because of risk recognition, prophylaxis, and optimal management.

Improving patients' knowledge about kidney failure

Lee, Michelle L.; Sherrod, Brad

Nursing Critical Care. 10(1):41-48, January 2015.

Learning about: kidney function, diet, fluid restrictions, lab values, medication associated with dialysis, and treatment adherence increases knowledge, improves health, and decreases 30-day ESRD hospital readmissions in study groups.

Recognition, management, and prevention of burn sepsis in pediatric patients

Comeau, Nicholas P.

Nursing Critical Care. 11(6):24-30, November 2016.

Learn about the signs and symptoms of burn sepsis in pediatric patients, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, evaluation, and prevention of this potentially fatal invasive infection.

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

Plitnick, Katherine R.

Nursing Critical Care. 9(6):32-37, November 2014.

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Of the 4.7 million in-patient heart-related procedures performed on approximately 4.7 million people annually in the United States, 395,000 of those are coronary artery bypass grafting.

Genetics in the cardiovascular ICU

Halbmaier, Katie; Beutner, Katherine; Daniels, Chetana; More

Nursing Critical Care. 12(5):14-24, September 2017.

There is currently an increase in the use of genetic technologies for risk assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of inheritable causes of mortality and morbidity. Patients and families are relying more and more on their nurse's understanding of genetics to guide their care. This article offers a review of the clinical applications of genetics relevant to the nurse practicing in the cardiovascular ICU.

In-hospital cardiac arrest

Leary, Marion

Nursing Critical Care. 10(1):34-40, January 2015.

Hospital teams need experienced leadership, with members filling defined roles to properly treat patients in cardiac arrest. Overcrowding can cause poor communication, prevent task delegation and potentially risk patients' lives. Healthcare professionals are more confident when they have “rolling refreshers” periodically practicing CPR skills, using CPR training manikins, and CPR feedback devices.

Pulmonary embolism: Know the signs, act fast, save lives

Simko, Lynn C.; Culleiton, Alicia L.

Nursing Critical Care. 8(5):26-31, September 2013.

One-third of patients who develop pulmonary embolism die. Here's how to recognize the problem and intervene appropriately to save lives.

Glycemic control in hospitalized patients

Kubacka, Beata

Nursing Critical Care. 10(1):8-14, January 2015.

Read about the latest evidence-based guidelines for treating hospitalized adult patients with diabetes. Nurses should make sure patients obtain appropriate monitoring and treatment, avoid hypo- and hyperglycemia, and receive timely follow-up care.

The Goldilocks Principle: Using functional hemodynamics for fluid optimization

Headley, Jan M.

Nursing Critical Care. 11(3):23-27, May 2016.

Optimal fluid therapy is a cornerstone in the care of the acutely ill patient. Complications occur with providing too much fluid or too little. By being able to determine the “just right” amount of fluid, outcomes are enhanced.

Innovations in practice: A call for research, quality improvement, and evidence-based practice projects

Glasofer, Amy

Nursing Critical Care. 11(2):7-10, March 2016.

Introducing our newest department, which will focus on publishing high-quality research, quality improvement, and evidence-based practice projects that are relevant to critical care nursing practice.

The nurse as the patient

Nursing Critical Care. 9(2):4, March 2014.

What happens when the nurse is the patient? Don't ignore warning signs that your own health needs attention because if you're in pain, even with friends in the business, you could have to wait for appointments, prescriptions, precertification, and follow-up visits – just like your patients.

Strengthening your neurologic assessment techniques

Boudreaux, Arlene

Nursing Critical Care. 9(3):32-37, May 2014.

Ever have a patient who in your opinion is showing neurologic changes, but you're not sure how to evaluate her behavior and support your observations? Find out how to develop your neurologic assessment skills and improve your patient's care.


Blake, Stephanie M.; Bradshaw, Wanda T.

Nursing Critical Care. 10(1):27-33, January 2015.

This article discusses the birth defect in which one or more of the joints between the bones of a baby's skull prematurely closes. Cranial growth and brain development are influenced. Neurologic and physiologic after effects can include: auditory and visual impairment, seizures, swallowing dysfunction, heart and lung abnormalities, developmental delays, speech impairments, self-esteem issues, and learning disabilities.

Burn injuries in the ICU: A case scenario approach Part 2

Simko, Lynn Coletta; Culleiton, Alicia L.

Nursing Critical Care. 12(5):26-36, September 2017.

This article is the second part of a case study about Abe, a young Amish patient with severe burn injuries. In Part 1, various types of burns were described, as well as initial resuscitative care for patients with severe burn injuries. In Part 2, the authors detail Abe's unfolding case scenario and conclusion, cultural concerns in nursing care for an Amish patient, and the treatment modalities necessary to manage patients with burn injuries in the ICU.

Updating your nutrition care practice

McCarthy, Mary S.; Martindale, Robert G.

Nursing Critical Care. 10(1):18-26, January 2015.

About 65% of ICU patients aren't receiving enough nutrition. When their survival is threatened, nutrition taken orally, topically, through inhalation, or by injection helps improve outcomes. Active nutrients reduce damage to cells, control inflammation, decrease the metabolic response to stress, and improve feeding tolerance.

Bringing care to the high-tech bedside

Winstanley, Helene D.

Nursing Critical Care. 10(1):5-7, January 2015.

A challenge for nurses is integrating the use of electronic health records, computers, and carts, while still showing patients a caring attitude.

Change your appetite: Stop “eating the young” and start mentoring

Echevarria, Ilia M.

Nursing Critical Care. 8(3):20-24, May 2013.

Nurses have an obligation to mentor colleagues and to treat them with respect, trust, and dignity. Learn about the destructive cycle of horizontal violence and how to break the cycle.


Barto, Donna; Brzozowski, Jill

Nursing Critical Care. 9(4):23-25, July 2014.

A deer tick, which is the size of a poppy seed, is the most common way of transmitting this infectious disease. It can take up to 9 weeks to see signs of the illness that range from flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, and weakness up to death.

Dying with dignity

Privette, Krystal; Kautz, Donald D.

Nursing Critical Care. 9(1):48, January 2014.

Part of an ICU nurse's job is to help family members understand what to expect when a loved one wants to die with dignity.

Psychoactive bath salts: An emerging crisis

Wieland, Diane M.

Nursing Critical Care. 10(3):22-27, May 2015.

Increasingly, critical care nurses are admitting aggressive patients who are withdrawing from psychoactive bath salts and may be dangerous to themselves and others. Symptoms may take days to improve or could worsen, leading to multi-system organ failure and admission to the ICU.

Music helps heal mind, body, and spirit

Thomas, Linda S.

Nursing Critical Care. 9(6):28-31, November 2014.

Heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption decease when the right type of music is played. This auditory stimulus positively affects the patient physiologically and psychologically.

Managing vasoactive infusions to restore hemodynamic stability

Timmerman, Rosemary A.

Nursing Critical Care. 11(2):35-43, March 2016.

Critically ill patients frequently suffer circulatory disturbances necessitating the use of vasoactive medications. Critical care nurses must know the actions and possible adverse reactions of vasoactive agents and be able to titrate hemodynamic medications to achieve therapeutic endpoints indicating adequate perfusion.

Basics of general anesthesia for the critical care nurse

Greenberg, Kendra; Morrison, Suzanne

Nursing Critical Care. 12(4):36-42, July 2017.

Critical care nurses play an integral role in the care of surgical patients. A more thorough understanding of what general anesthesia entails may enable the critical care nurse to tailor care to patients following surgery. This article describes the stages of general anesthesia, along with related medications, potential adverse reactions, and what nurses need to know to provide optimal care.

Maintaining healthy work environments

Samoya, Alissa; Crutcher, Terri D.; Pilon, Bonnie A.

Nursing Critical Care. 10(6):1-7, November 2015.

Learn about the development of an evidence-based, best practice toolkit that supports nurse leaders in incorporating the AACN's six essential standards of a healthy work environment into current practice settings.

Cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome following carotid artery revascularization

Vacca, Vincent M. Jr.; Thomas, Sarah Beth

Nursing Critical Care. 12(1):32-39, January 2017.

Cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome (CHS) is a complication that follows carotid artery revascularization by either carotid endarterectomy or carotid artery stenting. Anticipation, early recognition, and aggressive management of CHS are essential to prevent disastrous complications.

More nurses asked to get baccalaureate degrees

Specht, Dawn M.

Nursing Critical Care. 10(5):40-46, September 2015.

Why should RNs get a BSN? This article focuses on what's required for the degree and how additional education helps nurses advance in their careers and reduces patient mortality.

Stay up-to-date on anticoagulants

Palatnik, AnneMarie

Nursing Critical Care. 7(6):16-20, November 2012.

Anticoagulation therapy is used to prevent or treat conditions from venous thromboembolism to atrial fibrillation. These drugs are effective, but can be difficult to manage. Find out about the most common anticoagulants, which ones to use when, and how to keep patients safe during anticoagulant therapy.

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