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Saving Lives in Need of Critical Care

May is Critical Care Awareness Month

5/31/2023

Adam Krueger, Critical Care Nurse

Intensive or critical care medicine is a specialty that deals with seriously or critically ill patients dealing with conditions that may be life-threatening.

This requires critical care nurses and doctors who are specially trained medical professionals that provide care to patients in critical condition.

Their roles extend beyond regular healthcare settings, as they operate in intensive care units (ICUs), cardiac care units (CCUs), emergency departments, and other critical care settings where immediate medical attention is vital.

Adam Krueger began his nursing career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in cardiac ICU before becoming a critical care RN in MSICU. He got his passion for the medical field in the Army after he received medical training specifically designed to aid fellow infantrymen who were seriously wounded in combat.

 

Adam states “There is no way to fully describe the feeling of influencing the outcomes of a complete stranger’s worst day and them being moments away from death at times, but because of my training, experience, and the amazing teamwork of my peers in MSICU, I am privileged to make that difference almost every day that I work.”

Common reasons for people to be admitted to the critical care department include severe infections, respiratory distress, cardiac conditions, post-surgical complications, traumatic injuries, and other life-threatening emergencies.

 

Patients in the critical care department require round-the-clock care and monitoring, often with one-on-one nursing support.

 

“The critical care department serves as a bridge between acute care settings, such as emergency departments or operating rooms, and general medical/surgical units. Once patients stabilize and their conditions improve, they may be transferred to appropriate units for further care or rehabilitation,” states Adam.

 

Although critical care shares similarities with other hospital departments, it also is distinguished from other areas of the hospital by several key factors:

 

  • Severity of Illness: Critical care units are designed to care for patients who are critically ill or injured and require constant monitoring and specialized interventions. These patients often have complex medical conditions, multiple organ system failures, or are recovering from major surgeries.
  • Intensive Monitoring: Critical care units are equipped with advanced monitoring systems to continuously monitor vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and brain activity. The constant monitoring enables rapid interventions and adjustments in treatment plans.
  • Specialized Staffing: Critical care units are staffed with a highly trained and specialized healthcare team, including critical care physicians (intensivists), critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals.
  • Multidisciplinary Approach: Critical care involves a multidisciplinary approach, with healthcare professionals from various specialties collaborating to provide comprehensive care.
  • Time-Sensitive Care: Critical care often involves time-sensitive interventions and decision-making. The window of opportunity to initiate treatment or stabilize a patient can be narrow, and the consequences of delayed or inadequate care can be life-threatening.

Critical care department is a multifaceted environment. It requires team members and different healthcare professionals to work closely together to assess patients' conditions, develop individualized care plans, and quicky implement necessary medical interventions.

 

Adam states, “As a critical care nurse, we work in a very high stress environment and have a highly important role in the healthcare setting. A life-threatening accident can happen to anyone at any moment. We take care of seriously ill patients and see them get back on their feet after what could have been a fatal ending.”

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