Journal of Neuroscience Nursing
April 2010, Volume 42 Number 2 , p 71 - 77
Neuroscience intensive care unit (ICU) nurses deliver a number of interventions when caring for critically ill traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients. Yet, there is little research evidence documenting specific nursing interventions performed. As part of a larger study investigating ICU nurse judgments about secondary brain injury, ICU nurses were asked to identify interventions routinely performed when caring for TBI patients. Quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate that all nurses routinely monitored hemodynamic parameters such as oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and temperature. Nurses were responsible for monitoring intracranial pressure and cerebral perfusion pressure approximately 50% of the time. Qualitative analyses revealed that additional nursing interventions could be categorized as neurophysiological interventions, psychosocial interventions, injury prevention interventions, and interventions to maintain a therapeutic milieu. Findings from this study provide evidence of the multifaceted role of the neuroscience ICU nurse caring for TBI patients and can be used in future research investigating the impact of nursing interventions on patient outcomes.