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Critical care, Critical care nurses advanced degrees, Evidence-based practice, Patient deterioration



  1. Conley, Patricia PhD, RN, PCCN


The need for highly skilled and knowledgeable critical care nurses continues to evolve today and will in the future. Demands in critical care medicine for nurses with advanced degrees (master's in nursing: clinical nurse specialist; or doctorate in nursing: doctorate of philosophy in nursing or doctor of nursing practice) working in intensive care units or progressive care units can help meet these challenges. Nurses with certification and advanced degrees in nursing can be employed to work in 1 or combined roles such as nurse leaders and nurse researcher or intermittently fulfill roles as bedside nurses. These nurses working in critical care units have the ability to provide expertise that extends to staff, families, as well as patients. In addition, they are positioned to conduct relevant clinical research for evidence-based best practices. Evidence-based practice promotes excellence in nursing care and cost containment. Data on numbers of critical care beds in the United States increased 17% between 2000 and 2010.