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7 Teaching Tips on How to Navigate the Critical Care Setting

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It’s important to ensure new nurses entering the critical care setting are prepared to help patients with life-threatening health problems.  Patient-centric priorities remain the focus in caring for patients and families as the surge of critical illness intensifies in these settings. Here are some tips for educators to keep in mind so that students can perform exceptionally within the critical care environment.

  1. Placing nursing students in the critical care environment as soon as possible enhances learning as students acclimate to the sights, sounds, smells, and situations. This will shape clinical skills, hone clinical judgment, and build their confidence as they provide care for patients. It is critical for educators to have conversations with students about their experiences as well.
  2. Illustrate concepts with real-life examples, whether from recent experiences caring for ICU patients or engaging with nurses on the front line. Linking what happens in the clinical care environment, including the responses of the patient and their family, to the content learned in class enhances the impressions of caring, making the concepts come alive.
  3. Make sure students are thinking comprehensively about everyone affected, including family members. Early inclusion of patient and family member experiences will enrich learning for students and integrate everyone involved into the plan of care. 
  4. Encourage students to take advantage of the digital tools available through Evolve. Engaging thought processes through the use of study break boxes, case studies, animations, clinical skills procedures, and video clips will reinforce learning key concepts and get them to think outside the box.
  5. Stay informed on the current literature and changes in practice. In today’s critical care setting, the nurse plays an important role in standardized round and as a key member of the team.
  6. Emphasize the importance of interpersonal collaboration in the critical care setting. Each team member brings a set of experiences and knowledge that can contribute to the holistic care of the patient.
  7. Engage students and challenge their baseline knowledge by using case studies and short questions. This can help stimulate clinical reasoning necessary for practice as well as succeeding on the NCLEX.

With the content available in Introduction to Critical Care Nursing, 8th Edition, students can start developing an idea of how these fundamentals can apply to what they’ll see in the field. Click here to learn more about their latest book.

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