Agitation is a common phenomenon in critically ill patients. This multidimensional challenge can prolong illness, interfere with treatment, and harm the patient. The nurse must assess the cause of the agitation and provide effective, timely intervention. Agitation is defined as motor restlessness secondary to possible physiologic, psychologic, environmental, and pharmacologic causes. The nurse has many effective assessment tools to systematically determine the cause of the agitation, including an agitation algorithm and sedation scale. With astute assessment and intervention, agitation can be prevented and treated to enhance recovery from critical illness. Benzodiazepines are an effective treatment intervention for agitation. With thorough knowledge of the actions and potential effects of these drugs, the nurse can provide the best pharmacologic intervention to treat agitation in the critically ill patient

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