Nurses who work in acute care are called acute care nurses. These nurses are capable of using the latest technology to provide up to date treatment modalities. They are the ones who work closely with physicians to establish a plan of care to get patients back home as quickly and painlessly as possible. They do much more than simply follow physician’s orders. They are able to perform a number of tasks autonomously per their nurse practice act.
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Acute care nurses assess patients and treat them according to established protocols and physician orders. They are capable of determining which of the ordered remedies is appropriate for the patient at any given point in time. Depending on where they work the nurses take on a variety of responsibilities.
Nurses in the emergency department determine which patients are the sickest then have the physician see those patients first. They provide lifesaving treatments, medications, monitoring, and care. In the operating room, they assist the surgeon in performing surgery and monitor the patient's condition throughout the operation. They then continue their care through the recovery process.
Birthing center nurses manage the labor process providing instruction, medications, and support throughout the process and finally assisting in the delivery of the child. Each department in an acute care hospital provides nurses with the opportunity to provide care to those who are sick or in need.
Acute care environments include hospitals, free-standing emergency rooms, surgery clinics, and short-term sub acute units. All are clinical environments that utilize high tech equipment, skilled staff, and a variety of support staff. Buildings are designed with surfaces that clean easily, such as tile, porcelain, and stainless. All areas are handicap-accessible. Unfortunately, staff areas are small and utilitarian. The necessities are present, but do not expect luxuries. Luxuries aside, there are sufficient supplies, equipment, and other materials to perform nursing-related duties.
Clinical environments are most often slightly colder than normal workplaces. The lower temperatures help inhibit bacterial growth. However, patients’ rooms can be rather warm. This situation creates rather drastic temperatures throughout the building. Nurses often wear a lab coat or scrub jacket in order to adjust to changes in temperature.