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Certified and Advanced Degree Critical Care Nurses Improve Patient Outcomes

Conley, Patricia, PhD, RN, PCCN

Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing: March/April 2019 - Volume 38 - Issue 2 - p 108–112
doi: 10.1097/DCC.0000000000000342
Leadership DIMENSION

The need for highly skilled and knowledgeable critical care nurses continues to evolve today and will in the future. Demands in critical care medicine for nurses with advanced degrees (master's in nursing: clinical nurse specialist; or doctorate in nursing: doctorate of philosophy in nursing or doctor of nursing practice) working in intensive care units or progressive care units can help meet these challenges. Nurses with certification and advanced degrees in nursing can be employed to work in 1 or combined roles such as nurse leaders and nurse researcher or intermittently fulfill roles as bedside nurses. These nurses working in critical care units have the ability to provide expertise that extends to staff, families, as well as patients. In addition, they are positioned to conduct relevant clinical research for evidence-based best practices. Evidence-based practice promotes excellence in nursing care and cost containment. Data on numbers of critical care beds in the United States increased 17% between 2000 and 2010.

Patricia Conley, PhD, RN, PCCN, is a progressive care: unit charge nurse at the Research Medical Center at Kansas City, Missouri.

The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Patricia Conley, PhD, RN, PCCN, Research Medical Center, 2316 E Meyer Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64132 (

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