This article explores the implementation and use of patient care extenders in two critical care units. Experimentation and diversity in changing the care-delivery system were the forces motivating the management team to redesign the existing nursing care-delivery system. The impetuses for the change process were the use of the role of the registered nurse and cost containment. Two case studies will illustrate from a practical perspective how the change occurred. Although the same nurse manager was responsible administratively for the two units, the patient care extender models were implemented differently. This was based on the conviction that each unit is unique with regard to patients and staff needs. The first case study occurred in an 18-bed cardiac telemetry unit in which the patient extender care model was integrated with direct patient care activities of the unit. In the second case study, which occurred in a ten-bed cardiac care unit, the patient care extender was integrated with indirect patient care activities. The approach to this article is practical, and it is intended for units that may be dealing with these issues in these changing times in health care

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