Implementing an Antimicrobial Stewardship Program in the Intensive Care Unit by Engaging Critical Care Nurses

Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2021 Dec;33(4):369-380. doi: 10.1016/j.cnc.2021.07.001. Epub 2021 Oct 9.

Abstract

The continuing rise in the incidence of multidrug-resistant organism infections has made combating this grave threat a national imperative. One of the most potent weapons in our arsenal against such organisms is the prudent use of antibiotics. Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs aim to slow the development of antimicrobial resistance through judicious, monitored use of antibiotics. Traditionally, AMS programs have included pharmacists and physicians with training in AWS, infectious disease physicians, hospital leadership, microbiologists, and infection prevention professionals. Nurses are missing from AMS programs, especially intensive care nurses. Critical care nurses provide the majority of patient care to ICU patients and monitor the progress of the patient's condition. The ICU nurse is an obvious asset to the AMS programs. ICU nurses are well-educated autonomous professionals with a unique role in coordinating with the critical care team. Critical care nurses already perform numerous nursing tasks with AWS functions. This, together with their unique perspective makes them a valuable asset that has often been overlooked. Traditionally, perceived barriers have kept ICU nurses from joining AMS teams. By removing these barriers and engaging critical care nurses in the important work of AWS, we can strengthen our AMS team and achieve optimal outcomes for our patients.

Keywords: Antimicrobial stewardship; Critical care; Engagement; Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship*
  • Critical Care
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Nurses*

Substances

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents