The critical care setting is a complex organizational environment. Care is provided by a multidisciplinary interdependent team of critical care physicians (intensivists), critical care nurses, mid-level practitioners, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, social workers, physical therapists, nutritionists, and palliative care specialists.
These various healthcare professionals possess expert knowledge in physiology, pharmacology, the technical aspects of monitors and invasive equipment and management of the psychosocial issues surrounding the provisions of critical care to the critically ill. Effective collaboration is essential to the overall function of the critical care unit, and significantly effects patient’s mortality and length of stay.
Critical care walk-rounds are the essential communication tool where the multidisciplinary team comes together to discuss the daily goals of care for each patient: recognizing daily problems, sharing information, initiating therapy, evaluating the effects of therapy, and providing learning opportunities for the critical care staff. Many patients have multi organ failure; require constant monitoring and observation (e.g.; respiratory system failure, cardiovascular system failure; kidney failure).
Nurses maintain a constant presence at the bedside and play a critical role in monitoring these patients, providing minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour care. The admission of a critically ill patient is a stressful time for family and friends. There is a support system of social workers and palliative care specialists.