Critical care nursing is a complex, challenging area of nursing practice where clinical expertise is developed over time by integrating critical care knowledge, clinical skills, and caring practices. This textbook succinctly presents essential information about how best to safely and competently care for critically ill patients and their families.
As it has since the first edition, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses reaffirms this book’s value to the AACN community and especially to clinicians at the point of care. The title continues to carry AACN’s name, as it has since the first edition.
AACN Essentials of Critical Care Nursing provides essential information on the care of adult critically ill patients and families. The book recognizes the learner’s need to assimilate foundational knowledge before attempting to master more complex critical care nursing concepts. Written by nationally acknowledged clinical experts in critical care nursing, this book sets a new standard for critical care nursing education.
AACN Essentials of Critical Care Nursing represents a departure from the way in which most critical care books are written because it:
Succinctly presents essential information for the safe and competent care of critically ill adult patients and their families, building on the clinician’s significant medical-surgical nursing knowledge base, avoiding repetition of previously acquired information;
Stages the introduction of advanced concepts in critical care nursing after essential concepts have been mastered;
Provides clinicians with clinically-relevant tools and guides to use as they care for critically ill patients and families;
Includes Principles of Management to summarize key concepts and case studies to demonstrate their application.
AACN Essentials of Critical Care Nursing is divided into four parts:
Part I: The Essentials presents core information that clinicians must understand to provide safe, competent nursing care to all critically ill patients, regardless of their underlying medical diagnoses. This part includes content on assessment, diagnosis, planning, and interventions common to critically ill patients and their families; interpretation and management of cardiac rhythms; hemodynamic monitoring; airway and ventilatory management; pain, sedation, and neuromuscular blockade management; pharmacology; and ethical and legal considerations. Chapters in Part I present content in enough depth to ensure that essential information is available for the critical care clinician to develop competence, while sequencing pathological conditions in Part II and advanced content in a later part of the book (Part III).
Part II: Pathologic Conditions covers pathologic conditions and management strategies commonly encountered in critical care units, closely paralleling the blueprint for the CCRN certification examination. Chapters in this part are organized by body systems and selected critical care conditions, such as cardiovascular, respiratory, multisystem, neurologic, hematologic and immune, gastrointestinal, renal, endocrine, and trauma.
Part III: Advanced Concepts presents advanced critical care concepts or pathologic conditions that are more complex and represent expert level information. Specific advanced chapter content includes ECG, cardiovascular, respiratory (ie, modes of ventilation), and neurologic concepts.
Part IV: Key Reference Information contains selected reference information that clinicians will find helpful in the clinical area (normal laboratory and diagnostic values; cardiac rhythms; ECG characteristics and treatment guide; hemodynamic monitoring troubleshooting guide; and summary tables of critical care medications). Content in Part IV is presented primarily in table format for quick reference.
Each chapter in Part I, II, and III, begins with “Knowledge Competencies” that can be used to guide informal or formal teaching and to gauge the learner’s progress. In addition, each of the chapters provide “Essential Content Case” studies that focus on key information presented in the chapters in order to assist clinicians in understanding the chapter content and how to best assess and manage conditions and problems encountered in critical care. The case studies are also designed to enhance the learners understanding of the magnitude of the pathologic problems/conditions and their impact on patients and families. Questions and answers are provided for each case so that learners may test their knowledge of the essential content.
We believe that there is no greater way to protect our patients than to ensure that an educated clinician cares for them. Competent, skilled, knowledgeable, and caring clinicians ensure safe passage in critical care. We sincerely believe that this textbook will help you make it so! Thank you,
Suzi Burns and Sarah Delgado