Acute and critical care nursing refers to care provided by nurses to patients with life-threatening conditions, working in the intensive care, critical care and emergency units. All nurses must be registered with the AACN or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, which is the national advisory body in the US for nurses and nursing staff.
Since it is the AACN who sets and regulates standards that need to be maintained when it comes to emergency and acute care, all nurses wishing to work in emergency units must first obtain an approval certificate from the AACN. As they are going to be working on critically ill patients, these nurses must pass examinations that are understandably rather tough. Nurses who wish to work in critical care units need to have thorough knowledge of pathophysiology as well as various technologies used in critical care.
The standards for qualifying for acute and emergency care nursing also demands that nurses working in these units are extremely professional and competent enough when it comes to dealing with patients, family members and doctors.
There are advanced technologies being introduced in this field regularly, like hemodynamic and cardiac monitoring systems, intra-aortic balloon pumps (IABP), mechanical ventilator therapy, ventricular assist devices (LVAD and RVAD), continuous renal replacement equipment (CRRT/CVVHDF), extracorporeal mechanical oxygenation circuits (ECMO) and other life support devices.
Apart from being familiar with the intricate functioning of the equipments mentioned above, emergency care nurses must also be well trained in handling patients in ICU, CCU, cardiac units, post operative care, high dependency units and medical evacuation teams.