We live in an age of incredible scientific and medical discovery. New treatments that could not have been imagined a decade ago are now available to patients. As healthcare innovation continues, delivering the best patient care requires every nurse to stay up to date with the latest treatments and evidence-based practices. This issue of Nursing2018 Critical Care features the latest research on some new forms of treatment, including a new vasopressor agent for septic shock and a tactile stimulation technique to improve consciousness and vital signs in patients with severe traumatic brain injury.
With sepsis incidence on the rise, knowing how to quickly and effectively manage septic shock is crucial. Patients who experience septic shock are at risk for acute kidney injury, myocardial injury, or death. The FDA last year approved a new vasoconstrictor for use in septic shock. Angiotensin II for septic shock treatment: An update (p. 30) reviews the mechanism of action, drug interactions, and nursing considerations surrounding this new pharmacologic agent.
Progress also is being made in the research exploring treatment for patients with traumatic brain injury. Tactile stimulation improves consciousness and vital signs in patients with traumatic brain injury (p. 18) investigates the impact tactile stimulation had on 60 ICU patients in Qazvin, Iran. Study results show positive patient outcomes, contributing to the literature on this topic.
This issue also reviews the evidence-based practices surrounding mechanical ventilation weaning, which remains a critical care nursing challenge. On average, 40% of a patient's time on a ventilator is spent weaning. Because this lifesaving intervention can cause significant physiologic and psychological symptoms in patients, effective and empathetic nursing care can have a major impact on patients' experiences. Mechanical ventilation weaning: An evidence-based review (p. 5) covers the process of ventilator weaning; common complications; symptom management; and the advantages and disadvantages of common ventilator modes and settings, as well as offers five key care recommendations for optimal patient outcomes. Critical care nurses are essential in adopting these recommendations on their units.
Science is making enormous strides in the world of medicine and healthcare, but discovering new treatments and therapies is only part of the solution. Nurses everywhere need to be stewards of these new techniques and share their knowledge with colleagues and patients at their facilities. The FDA and CDC websites are good resources for the latest in new treatments. Check out www.fda.gov/newsevents and www.cdc.gov/media/index.html for news, press releases, and reports.
Haley K. McKinney, MBA
Associate Editor Nursing2018 Critical Care Health Learning, Research & Practice Wolters Kluwer Philadelphia, PA