Critical Care Nursing

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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 patient can afford opportunities for earlier, more effective intervention (DeVita, 2006). This essay will analyse the use of early warning scoring system tools and their relevance to patient deterioration and early detection.


It is essential that nurses are able to recognise and assess changing vital signs in regards to cardiac arrest in the hospital setting. Proper recognition of early warning signs of cardiac arrest allow nurses to provide early, effective and appropriate intervention, thus improving patient outcomes. Garret (2010) stated that around 11% of hospital deaths are a result of clinical deterioration not being recognised. It is also stated by Higgins, et al (2008) that out of 425 patient deaths, 64 were related to patient deterioration that had not been recognised or acted on. In 14 of the cases, no observations had been made for a long time prior to death, and in 30 cases despite recording of vital signs, there was no recognition of clinical deterioration or no action taken.

Accurate and comprehensive assessment includes knowing how to measure vital signs properly and performing every aspect of an assessment. Nurses need to be properly educated on what is required of them when...
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