Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a common problem in critically ill patients who receive mechanical ventilation. The condition is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in intensive care units. VAP is defined as pneumonia that is neither present nor developing at the time of intubation, but which occurs 48 hours or more after intubation.1 Intubation increases the risk of pneumonia because the tube bypasses many of the lungs’ normal defense mechanisms.

As graduate students in San Diego State University’s Program for Advanced Practice Nursing of Adults and the Elderly, we were required to learn evidence-based practice guidelines for many areas of acute and critical care nursing practice. Our instructor, Beverly Carlson, RN, MS, CNS, expected total recall of this vital information as training for our future roles as nurse practitioners and/or clinical nurse specialists.

In preparation for an examination, we developed a mnemonic, CHOOSE NO VAP, to help us...

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