Over the past year, I have become acquainted with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments (www.aacn.org/hwe) as our manager and staff strive to make our critical care units better places to work. I am a staff nurse and can already see the changes taking place in unit morale and staff retention.

Our hospital has 2 critical care units that are separate from one another but share the same manager, educator, and clinical nurse specialist. One unit is a 15-bed intensive care unit (ICU) with medical-surgical-neurological patients. The other unit is an 18-bed adult critical care (ACC) unit—it was originally a progressive care unit but now the staff have been educated and trained to care for ICU patients. Staffing the 2 units requires a number of nurses and, consequently, we have many different personalities...

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