August 14, 2022
What is eICU Nursing?
Hospitals across the nation have been creating Virtual ICUs to enhance patient outcomes in the intensive care unit. Since COVID-19, eICUs have proliferated – in one form or another — as healthcare facilities have focused on optimizing their resources.
Virtual ICUs employ registered nurses (RNs) with bedside critical care experience who use telemedicine technology as eICU RNs to remotely monitor patients and provide advice to their bedside nursing colleagues, and alert intensivists to something that has caught their attention during reviews. This additional ICU support has proven to be helpful, particularly given the shortages of critical care providers (especially intensivists and critical care RNs).
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the problem of staffing shortages, stressing already frustrated RNs to or beyond their breaking points. Nursing has always been a tough job. However, a 2021 study by Incredible Health found that more than a third (34%) of nurses surveyed said that they are very likely to quit their job by the end of 2022. Of these, 44% named a high-stress environment and burnout as the reasons. Also, pay and benefits were the second leading motivating factors (27%). In addition, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) reports that 66% of critical-care and acute nurses have contemplated quitting the profession altogether.
Having said that, what is it like to work as an eICU RN? What are the duties, and how does the Virtual ICU enhance patient outcomes?