Critical Care Nursing Essay

1195 Words Sep 23rd, 2010 5 Pages
This essay sets out to discuss the importance of comprehensive and accurate assessment on a registered nurses’ ability to make excellent clinical decisions. It will examine what factors can change a nurses’ capability to be aware of, and act on abnormal assessment findings. As well as assessment being part of the nursing process that is used in every day nursing, it is also a critical part of patient safety (Higgins, 2008). Assessment findings are used to determine what needs to be done for the patient next. Early warning scoring systems currently exist to aid in the early detection of patient deterioration (Goldhill, 2005). The rationale for the use of these systems is that early recognition of deterioration in the vital signs of a …show more content…
The issue of consistency is raised when discussing how to ensure assessments are comprehensive, complete and that the data is recorded using the same guidelines as other nurses. To enable consistency of assessment, the same nurse should be taking the observations of a patient for the duration of a shift (Moore, 2007). This ensure that the interpretation of results don’t differ each time the vital signs are done. It also allows the nurse to detect subtle changes in the patients state that may not have been written down. For example, in most clinical environments the respiration rate is recorded as just a number, and the rhythm, degree of effort, quality of breathing and evidence of wheezing or other abnormal breathing sounds are not recorded. The rate may stay the same over a period of time while other aspects of respiration may change, and this is something that a nurse is more likely to notice if they have assessed that patient before. During handover, a nurse should tell the next nurse looking after their patients how they took observations and detail what tools they used to ensure consistency is maintained.

Nurses may not pick up on abnormal assessment findings because they do not know what the normal ranges are, or perhaps do not know what combinations of abnormal clinical