Evolution of Intensive Care Unit Nursing

  • Stefano Bambi


The specialties of critical care medicine and critical care nursing arose to provide special treatment and care to the most severely ill hospital patients. However, critical care medicine does not seem to have made any major therapeutic progress in the past 30 years. The reduction of mortality in intensive care units (ICUs) is due essentially to improvements in both supportive care and the relevant technologies. In future, increases in the number of ICU beds relative to bed numbers in other hospital wards will probably be contemplated, even in a scenario of decreasing costs; clinical protocols will be computerized and/or nurse-driven; more multicenter and international trials will be performed; and organizational strategies will concentrate ICU personnel in a few large units, to promote the flexible management of these healthcare workers. Moreover, extracorporeal organ support technologies will be improved; technology informatics will cover all the bureaucratic aspects of healthcare work, aiding the staff in workload assessment; and critical care multidisciplinary rounds and follow-up services for post-ICU patients will be implemented. Lastly, a better continuum of care between the pre-hospital phase, the emergency care phase, the ICU phase, and the post-ICU phase should be achieved.

Also, policies should be drafted to manage sudden large demands for critical care beds in mega-emergencies.

The main lines of discussion in critical care nursing research should include nursing research priorities in critical care patients, holistic approaches to the patient, the humanization of care, special populations of ICU patients, and challenges related to critical care nursing during emerging outbreaks of infectious diseases.


Quality improvement Health resources Workload Biomedical technology Nursing Research Obesity Geriatric nursing Oncology nursing Infection 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefano Bambi
    • 1
  1. 1.Emergency & Trauma ICU, University Hospital CareggiFlorenceItaly

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