In recent years, hospitals across the country have been developing Virtual ICUs in an attempt to improve patient outcomes in the intensive care unit. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtual or eICUs have become increasingly common as healthcare facilities place greater emphasis on using available resources and remaining efficient.
eICU Nurses work in Virtual ICUs, using technology to monitor patients and provide care remotely, giving traditional ICUs an extra level of support.
So, what is it like to be an eICU RN? Read on to learn about the role and responsibilities of the eICU RN and how the Virtual ICU is improving patient outcomes.
What Is an eICU Nurse?
An eICU nurse is a member of a collaborative care team who is responsible for providing telenursing care to a diverse population of critically ill adults across multiple ICUs at various hospitals. The position reports directly to the Operations Director of an eICU program, collaborates with eICU Medical Director, Intensivists, staff RNs, and other members of the interdisciplinary team to provide care from a remote location.
An eICU RN relies heavily on a combination of technology and clinical experience. Using state-of-the-art healthcare technology, an eICU nurse monitors each body system of each patient in real-time, assisting bedside teams by providing an extra level of care.
eICU Nurse Role & Responsibilities
eICU nursing teams provide 24-hour, real-time care for critically ill patients. Usually, a two-way audio/video monitoring connects the ICU team to an eICU command center, where critical care experts monitor patients in the ICU to give assistance to bedside teams and provide immediate alerts when needed. The mission of the eICU team is to help bedside teams stabilize patients as soon as possible.
Common responsibilities of the eICU nurse include:
- Using clinical experience and knowledge as well as customer service skills in the delivery of remote intensive care services where monitoring systems are used to:
- Monitor critically ill patients and clinical data across multiple hospitals from a remote location.
- Provide critical care and clinical expertise to bedside nurses.
- Maximize technology in order to detect trends in patient data.
- Using two-way audio/visual devices and software to predict patient status and idenfity instability, communicating with bedside ICU care providers to optimize patient care.
- Promotes collaborative relationships and exhibits clear, concise communication with critical care staff via remote telemonitoring from remote locations.
- Demonstrating excellent judgment and problem-solving skills.
- Exhibiting great communication, interpersonal and organizational skills.
- Maintaining patient confidentiality.
- Serving as an advocate for patients and families in response to their needs and wishes.
- Communicating with the members of the eICU center and bedside ICU teams to provide safe, error-free care during routine treatment and emergent conditions.
- Solving clinical problems independently when appropriate and communicating unresolved issues to healthcare facility staff.
- Participating in quality initiatives and committees.
Qualifications of an eICU RN
Even though eICU RNs work remotely, the role can be very difficult and requires significant critical care experience.
Typical qualifications of an eICU nurse include:
- Current state RN licensure.
- Bachelor’s degree is also preferred.
- Current Basic Life Support (BLS) and the American Heart Association Advanced Course in Life Support (ACLS) required.
- Minimum of 3-5 years of critical care nursing experience required, CCRN certification preferred.
- On occasion, temporary relocation to an eICU center or “war room” is required.
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