Various protocols and techniques used to facilitate the weaning process are herein summarized. The protocols were derived from the literature, a survey of critical care nurses, and personal communications with individuals who use innovative methods to expedite the weaning process and reduce costs. The protocols provide a guideline for standardizing the weaning process, but they do not negate the importance of having skilled clinicians who provide continuity in implementing the protocols. The nursing profession has the opportunity to provide leadership in reducing health care costs through implementation of standardized approaches to weaning patients from mechanical ventilatory support.

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