Effective care and positive outcomes of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) patient necessitate optimal interdisciplinary management from the healthcare team, including expert care from specially trained registered nurses (RNs). It is incumbent upon the RN caring for the ECMO patient to excel in both time management and assessment skills, as this population often demands care delivery at the pinnacle of intensive care unit (ICU) acuity. Astute and nuanced monitoring of neurological status, bleeding risk with potential (often massive) transfusions, poor hemodynamics, and integrity of the ECMO pump itself are only the few specialized areas of focus that must share priority with traditional nursing considerations involving the critically ill, such as prevention of pressure injuries and bloodstream infections. These high-intensity medical foci must be balanced with ethical considerations, as the ultimate goal of returning the patient to their normal life is not always possible. These demands highlight the dynamic proficiency of the RN caring for the ECMO patient. The following chapter will highlight the importance of specialized nursing care in the critically ill patient supported with ECMO.
Part of the book: Advances in Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation