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Ray Higginson, Bridie Jones
British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 18, Iss. 8, 23 Apr 2009, pp 456 - 461

In this series of articles, the authors outline what they consider to be essential/core critical care skills that all nurses should possess in order to timely and appropriately assess critically ill patients. It is anticipated that the possession of these core skills will enable nurses to appropriately assess and identify those patients who are at risk of deterioration. By comprehensively assessing individual patients and identifying problems early, nurses can initiate specific interventions that may stabilise and/or improve patient outcomes and help prevent unnecessary intensive care unit admission. Having covered respiratory assessment here, in subsequent articles the authors will outline and discuss the following key critical care skills that all nurses should possess: cardiac and circulatory assessment, neurological assessment, hydration status assessment, fluid management and intravenous therapy. In this article the authors discuss the airway, breathing and circulation (ABC) approach to patient assessment and then focus on respiratory assessment and management.

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