Multiple perspectives must be considered when assessing the mechanically ventilated patient. Assessment begins before the advance practice nurse (APN) encounters the patient. Important information about the patient can be gleaned from the history, medications, and social history. The APN then observes the patient to determine if patient-ventilator synchrony has been achieved. Physical findings are gathered and correlated with the chest radiogram. Data from the ventilator are evaluated to assess compliance, minute ventilation, tidal volume, and other parameters that will assist in the evaluation of the patient’s needs. Electrolytes, acid-base state, and nutrition must all be considered to obtain a complete assessment of these patients. From all these data points, the APN can develop a detailed plan of care that will enhance positive patient outcomes.

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