Most Popular Articles

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Getting involved in policy and politics

Oestberg, Fredrik

Nursing2017 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.

Recognizing and managing traumatic brain injury

Wittenberg, Carla J.

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 13(1):20-27, January 2018.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious condition that can lead to high healthcare costs for and significant disabilities in patients. After reviewing the epidemiology and classification of TBI, this article covers clinical care recommendations and medication management strategies. Learn evidence-based guidelines for patient care surrounding TBI.

Acute ischemic stroke: The golden hour

Anderson, Jane A.

Nursing2017 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.

Myasthenia gravis and myasthenic crisis

Vacca, Vincent M. Jr.

Nursing2017 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.

Nursing2017 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

Nursing2017 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.

Fatigue and critical care nurses: Considerations for safety, health, and practice

Hobbs, Barbara B.; Wightman, Lori

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 13(1):6-13, January 2018.

Physical fatigue is a major concern for critical care nurses. This article reviews how sleep loss affects fatigue, the dangers of shift work, safer scheduling practices, and countermeasures critical care nurses can take to avoid feeling fatigued on the unit. Resources to help address fatigue level and manage symptoms are also listed.

Animal-assisted therapy and activities in the critical care setting

Rugari, Susan M.; Hunter, Cheryl L.; Carswell, B. Michele

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 12(6):32-40, November 2017.

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) and animal-assisted activities (AAA) are different dimensions in the field of human-animal interaction that incorporate various species of animals in diverse manners to benefit humans. Research shows physiologic and psychological benefits of AAT/AAA but is limited in the area of critical care. Current guidelines discourage the use of AAT/AAA in CCUs because of infection control concerns. However, these concerns can be addressed with the right policies.

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

Simko, Lynn C.; Culleiton, Alicia L.

Nursing2017 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.

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

Conley, Patricia B.; Kelechi, Teresa J.

Nursing2017 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.

Electrolyte series: Magnesium

Hiner, Amy

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 13(1):15-19, January 2018.

The latest installment in our Electrolyte Series explores the second most abundant intracellular divalent cation. Magnesium is crucial to over 300 enzymatic processes. This article covers magnesium regulation, hypermagnesemia, hypomagnesemia, and evidence-based practices regarding this electrolyte.

Keeping pace: Understanding temporary transvenous cardiac pacing

Gibson, Jennifer A.

Nursing2017 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.

In-hospital cardiac arrest

Leary, Marion

Nursing2017 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.

Dying with dignity

Privette, Krystal; Kautz, Donald D.

Nursing2017 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.

Shhh! Too much hospital noise slows recovery

Lim, Fidelindo A.

Nursing2017 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.

Encephalitis in adults: Outcomes in critical care

Vacca, Vincent M. Jr.

Nursing2017 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.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: A review

Trinsey, Ashley

Nursing2017 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.

Acute respiratory failure and COPD: Recognition and care

Siela, Debra

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 13(1):28-37, January 2018.

First, review the pathophysiology of COPD, signs and symptoms, and diagnosis. Then, learn how COPD exacerbations can lead to acute respiratory failure and hospitalization in these patients. A case study illustrates one patient's treatment plan.

More nurses asked to get baccalaureate degrees

Specht, Dawn M.

Nursing2017 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.

Bringing care to the high-tech bedside

Winstanley, Helene D.

Nursing2017 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.

Nursing2017 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.

Rapid response teams: Current perspectives

Jackson, Shirley A.

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 12(6):16-23, November 2017.

Rapid response teams (RRTs) have been in existence for nearly 25 years. The team's purpose is to assess and manage patients who experience acute clinical deterioration. The critical care nurse performs a vital role in the function of the team. This article reviews the composition, responsibilities, and common challenges of RRTs.

Zika virus: What nurses need to know

Coyle, Amanda L.

Nursing2017 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.

Music helps heal mind, body, and spirit

Thomas, Linda S.

Nursing2017 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.

The nurse as the patient

Nursing2017 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.

Managing vasoactive infusions to restore hemodynamic stability

Timmerman, Rosemary A.

Nursing2017 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.

The true meaning of awesome

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 10(1):4, January 2015.

Volunteering to help children with life-threatening illnesses have fun in places like the Garden of Hope, the Park of Dreams, and a wheelchair accessible carousel, helps show the real meaning of nursing awesome.

Electrolyte series: Potassium

Reid, Linda K.

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 12(6):6-14, November 2017.

After a brief review of intracellular and extracellular fluid compartments, this article discusses the history and physiology of potassium, and the causes, signs and symptoms, and treatments of hyperkalemia and hypokalemia. Both medical treatments and nursing considerations are included. This article, the first in our Electrolyte Series, also reviews the latest evidence-based practice and recent research on potassium.

Glycemic control in hospitalized patients

Kubacka, Beata

Nursing2017 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.

Aortic stenosis

Townsend, Terri

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 10(1):15-17, January 2015.

Aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve opening becomes narrowed, resulting in left ventricular outflow obstruction. The most common cause of this progressive disorder is calcification of the valve leaflets. Risk factors for calcification include: hypertension, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, and smoking.

Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis

Senecal, Pol-Andre

Nursing2017 Critical Care. 10(6):16-25, November 2015.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a diagnosis that includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. An estimated 900,000 Americans develop VTE annually, and approximately two-thirds were recently hospitalized at the time of diagnosis.

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

Glasofer, Amy

Nursing2017 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.


Blake, Stephanie M.; Bradshaw, Wanda T.

Nursing2017 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.

Updating your nutrition care practice

McCarthy, Mary S.; Martindale, Robert G.

Nursing2017 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.

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