AACN Essentials of Critical Care Nursing

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AACN Essentials of Critical Care Nursing Pocket Handbook

Marianne Chulay, RN, DNSc, FAAN

Suzanne M. Burns, RN, MSN, RRT, ACNP, CCRN, FAAN, FCCM


Pocket Handbook

Endorsed by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, this easy-to-use handbook provides essential information for critical care and progressive care settings.


• Cardiac rhythms, ECG characteristics, sample rhythm strips, and treatment guides

• Admission and shift assessment guides

• Critical care drug information

• Advanced cardiac life support algorithms

• Troubleshooting guides for hemodynamic monitoring and management of ventilator alarms

• Assessment tools for weaning from mechanical ventilation

• ICP monitoring setup and waveforms

• Delirium assessment tools

• Intra-aortic balloon pump waveforms

• Evidence-based treatment guides based on AACN Protocols for Practice and national guidelines

• Guidelines for intra- and inter-hospital transport (monitoring, equipment, personnel)

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Reviewer:Julie A. Stanik-Hutt, PhD, ACNP, CCNS(Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing)
Description:This pocket-sized book designed for use in the bedside care of critically ill adults is a companion to the textbook AACN Essentials of Critical Care Nursing. It includes selected tables and figures which are most likely to be needed as reference at the bedside.
Purpose:The authors state that they wanted to "provide busy clinicians an easy to use reference" for use in the hour-to-hour care of critically ill individuals. As the authors state, even experienced clinicians have difficulty remembering the volumes of details which may be needed in practice. This book allows the user to quickly retrieve information regarding the use of basic critical care technology. It is not a comprehensive reference but the contents, spiral binding, and size make it well suited to the stated purpose.
Audience:This book would be most useful to a nurse new to critical care practice. It would also be useful to nursing and medical students participating in critical care practicums. A more experienced nurse might find it helpful when working with new equipment or in unfamiliar situations ("floating" to another ICU, working as a "traveler"). The emphasis is on techniques and technology used to monitor critically ill patients. The authors are well known and established critical care nurse experts.
Features:The book includes information regarding patient assessment, critical care monitoring (cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological) plus tables of frequently used assessment calculations with norms and commonly used critical caremedications. Evidence-based practice information is provided where available (e.g., ST segment monitoring). Continuous EKG monitoring and dysrhythmia interpretation consumes a substantial part of the book. Information pertaining to preadmission preparation and patient transfers is unique. The pharmacology information incorporated is restricted to true critical care drugs.
Assessment:Reference content in this handbook is excellent and would be useful in practice. It is restricted to essential information making retrieval easy, and is truly a pocket friendly size. Many other pocket books would never fit into a pocket and contain so much material that it is difficult to retrieve the desired information. Usefulness of this book to the average RN (aged 47 or older) could be limited by the font size. However, many users would need a magnification device, especially in the low light situations sometimes found in clinical units.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071461184
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 9/18/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Mariannce Chulay, RN, PhD, FAAN, Consultant, Clinical Research and Critical Care Nursing, Chapel Hill, NC

Suzanne M. Burns, RN, MSN, RRT, ACNP, CCRN, FAAN, FCCM is a Professor of Nursing, Acute and Specialty Care at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is the world's largest specialty nursing organization, representing more than 400,000 acute and critical care nurses and serving more than 100,000 members, certificants and nurse constituents. Web site: www.aacn.org

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Table of Contents

Section I. Normal Values
1.1 Normal Values Table
Section II. Assessment
2.1 Prearrival and Admission Quick Check Assessments
2.2 Comprehensive Admission Assessment
2.3 Review of Past History
2.4 Ongoing Assessment Template
2.5 Symptom Assessment
2.6 Chest Pain Assessment
2.7 Pain Assessment Tools for Critically Ill Patients
2.8 Glasgow Coma Scale
2.9 Glasgow Coma Scale: Motor Movement with Noxious Stimuli
2.10 Sensory Dermatomes
2.11 Peripheral Pulse Rating Scale
2.12 Edema Rating Scale
2.13 Physiologic Effects of Aging
Section III. Cardiovascular Concepts
3.1 ECG Lead Placement for a Three-Wire System
3.2 ECG Lead Placement for a Five-Wire System
3.3 Twelve-Lead ECG Placement
3.4 Recommended Leads for Continuous ECG Monitoring
3.5 Cardiac Rhythms, ECG Characteristics, and Treatment Guide
3.6 Normal Twelve-Lead ECG Waves
3.7 Normal ST Segment and T Waves
3.8 Zones of Myocardial Ischemia, Injury, and Infarction
3.9 ECG Patterns Associated with Myocardial Ischemia
3.10 ECG Patterns Associated with Acute Myocardial Injury
3.11 ECG Changes Associated with Myocardial Infarction
3.12 Clinical Presentation of Myocardial Ischemia and Infarction
3.13 Cardiac Axis
3.14 Causes of Axis Deviations
3.15 Nomogram for Rate Correction of QT Interval
3.16 Advantages of Common ECG Monitoring Leads
3.17 pacemaker Codes
3.18 Dual-Chamber Pacing Modes
3.19 Intraaortic Balloon Pump Frequency of 1:2
3.20 Intraaortic Balloon Pump Frequency of 1:1
3.21 Inaccurate IABP Timing
3.22 Universal Algorithm for Adult Emergency Carciac Care
3.23 Algorithm for Ventricular Fibrillationand Pulseless Ventricular Tachycardia
3.24 Algorithm for Pulseless Electrical Activity
3.25 Asystole Treatment Algorithm
3.26 Bradycardia Algorithm (with the Patient Not in Cardiac Arrest)
3.27 Tachycardia Algorithm
3.28 Electrical Cardioversion Algorithm (with the Patient Not in Cardiac Arrest)
3.29 Problems Encountered with Arterial Catheters
3.30 Inaccurate Arterial Pressure Measurements
3.31 Problems Encountered with Pulmonary Artery Catheters
3.32 Inaccurate Pulmonary Artery Pressure Measurements
3.33 Troubleshooting Problems with Thermodilution Cardiac Output Measurements
Section IV. Respiratory Concepts
4.1 Normal Chest X-Ray
4.2 Mediastinal Structures Visible on a Chest X-Ray
4.3 Acid-Base Abnormalities
4.4 Indications for Mechanical Ventilation
4.5 Traditional Wean Criteria (Pulmonary Specific)
4.6 Burns' Wean Assessment Program (BWAP)
4.7 Algorithm for Managing Ventilator Alarms and/or Acute Respiratory Distress
4.8 Ventilatory Troubleshooting Guide
Section V. Critical Care Drugs
5.1 Intravenous Medication Administration Guidelines
5.2 Neuromuscular Blocking Agents
5.3 Vasoactive Agents
5.4 Antiarrhythmic Agents
5.5 Therapeutic Drug Monitoring
5.6 Tips for Calculating Intravenous Medication Infusion Rates
Section VI. Nerurological Concepts
6.1 Intracranial Pressure Waveforms
6.2 Functional Losses from SCI
6.3 Clinical Presentation of Brain Tumors related to location
6.4 Transfer Guidelines
6.5 Transport within the hospital: Personnel and Equipment Requirements
6.6 Monitoring During Transport
6.7 Pretransfer Coordination and Communication
6.8 Telephone Pages

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