Managing an adult medical/surgical intensive care unit (ICU) can be a nightmare when it comes to ensuring positive outcomes for a wide range of patients. Ensuring quality of care requires data gathering and subsequent implementation of changes based on results. In our ICU, the nurse manager realized that ensuring quality of care would require collaboration between nurses, physicians, and interdisciplinary team members. After various structures were tested, clinical action teams (CATs) emerged as the most effective means of ensuring quality of care in the unit.

CATs are teams of staff nurses who apply the current best practice standards to clinical issues in the specific population of patients assigned to their team. One of the most important features of CATs is to bring information to the bedside by mentoring and educating colleagues. Other interdisciplinary members are included in each CAT team as appropriate to the patient population.

To facilitate the understanding...

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