Achievement of successful patient outcomes depends on the availability of a primary nurse responsible for all aspects of nursing care. A consistent caregiver not only has a grasp of phenomena at hand but possesses an overall perspective of recovery. Care can be evaluated and readjusted on a timely basis. Identification of signs of progress as well as deterioration may be facilitated through continuity of care. The primary nurse can provide meaningful, ongoing information to the patient and significant others as a means of optimizing their coping behaviors. Effective nursing care of the patient with DIC is enhanced by a thorough understanding of its pathophysiology and its clinical manifestations. When the critical care nurse has a comprehensive knowledge base and uses purposeful assessment skills, potential complications become much clearer and are avoided. The primary nurse who knows how to prioritize care is capable of anticipating the patient's needs. By integrating theory with practice, the critical care nurse functions from a position of strength in promoting quality patient care.