Tag Archives: advanced

Blood thinners – what you need to know

blood thinners

Blood clots are a serious business. They can restrict or even completely block blood flow to organs and extremities, causing things like pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, ischemic bowel and even loss of limbs. So, it makes perfect sense that we want to prevent blood clots AND treat them when they occur. How do we do this?

read more

Clinical calculations

clinical calculations

As an RN, you’ll find that you need these four basic calculations almost every single shift you work. In this post we’ll cover what they are and why they matter.

Anion Gap

The anion gap will usually come into play when you are taking care of a patient in diabetic ketoacidosis. However, to be totally accurate, it is actually used to alert us that the patient is in ANY kind of metabolic acidosis and can even help us differentiate what caused it.

read more

Why the QT interval matters

QT interval

When you begin taking care of patients who are on cardiac monitoring (AKA “tele monitoring”) you’ll need to chart a few key ECG measurements once per shift and any time there is a change in the rhythm. These are the PR interval, the QRS, the QT and the QTc. You probably are already very familiar with the PR interval and QRS measurements…but what is a QT and why do you need to measure it?

read more

Podcast Episode 5: ICP Management

ICP MANAGEMENT

Managing ICP (intracranial pressure) is a complex balancing act. In this podcast you’ll learn the basics of ICP monitoring and management, what to watch for, when to intervene and HOW to intervene.

read more

Podcast Episode 3: ARDS

ARDS

In this episode we talk about the basics of ARDS – Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. It is the most severe form of acute lung injury and is something we see pretty regularly in the MICU. Learn about the different stages that occur as ARDS develops, what you’re going to assess and how the patient is going to be treated in this episode of the Straight A Nursing Podcast.

read more

ECMO: hardcore support for the lungs & heart

ECMO

ECMO (otherwise known as extracorporeal membraneous oxygenation) is essentially a life support measure used when the lungs or both heart and lungs cannot function adequately with traditional mechanical ventilation support.  In ECMO, blood is drained from the body, diverted to an oxygenator where gas exchange takes place, then returned to the patient. There! Now you know everything you need to know about ECMO. Just kidding! Let’s start at the very beginning.

read more

Dealing with difficult docs using SBAR

SBAR

Before I start an “us” vs. “them” war, let me start off by saying that I cannot imagine the pressure that physicians are under these days. They go for long stretches with no days off, work very long hours, have tremendous responsibility and, basically, have a job that I would never ever ever want. So, with that said, it is understandable that you will, at times, deal with a difficult or demanding physician. These tips about SBAR and effective communication should help!

read more

Managing intracranial pressure (ICP)

ICP

Taking care of patients with neurological injury means managing their intracranial pressure, or as it’s commonly called, ICP. And when we say neurological injury, keep in mind that we’re not just talking about people getting bonked on the head with a 2 x 4. We’re talking about space-occupying lesions, hydrocephalus, intracranial hemorrhage, subdural/epidural hematoma, even severe hyponatremia…basically anything that’s a key player in (drum roll please….) the Monro-Kellie doctrine.

read more

What the heck is heliox?

heliox

I first encountered Heliox when working in ICU and assuming care of a patient with severe asthma. As the team brought her up from the emergency room, I saw the respiratory therapists pushing a huge cart with what looked like gigantic oxygen tanks. The patient was wearing an oxygen mask hooked up to these tanks via long tubing and working hard to breathe. As I would learn later, she was on Heliox and it made the difference between ending up on ventilator or improving enough to downgrade to telemetry the next day. Which she did. Go us!

read more