critical care nursing
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Cecilia Van Cauwenberghe from Frost & Sullivan’s TechVision Group offers her thoughts on the challenges around critical care nursing, focussing on leveraging technology and innovation to improve the delivery of care

The process of decision-making in critical care nursing is particularly challenging today, especially with patients experiencing life-threatening conditions and/or complex chronic conditions. Such complexity requires an approach that takes into consideration a number of important factors related to the patient’s physiological, psychological, sociocultural and developmental needs (Palomar-Aumatell et al., 2017). Therefore, a collaborative care approach is vital to help students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills and to integrate the knowledge acquired in class into today’s clinical care systems.

Opportunities and solutions

Critical care nursing is expected to play a greater responsibility role in the near future. Efforts to address the growing demand for nursing care lie in a more efficient and effective care delivery that also implies the engagement of clinical professionals and patients with technology. A comprehensive description of multiple skills not only restricted to care delivery but also focused on patient observation in critical care nursing appear as a critical action (Alastalo et al., 2017). These patient observation skills basically consist of information acquisition and processing, as well as decision making and cooperation skills to act according to the patient’s needs. Patient observation, leveraging professional skills and advanced technological developments are highly relevant in both clinical practice and nursing education as a framework for orientation in complex learning environments to increase both clinical and professional competence.

Technology impact on nursing

Nursing trends

According to Frost & Sullivan (Das, 2018), future skills prioritisation should involve on-site internal assessment with various healthcare companies’ departments and stakeholders in order to understand on-going initiatives and potential human resources gaps regarding new technologies. Similarly, the most relevant technologies and trends impacting the industries must be assessed and discussed in order to set-up operation plans to address present critical care nursing challenges. Once the skills are identified, a talent nursery roadmap can be built in order to score best-suited academia, universities and organisations to source the best candidates highlighting typical career tracks and profiles for each of the identified skills.

Technology convergence

The past decade has evidenced many technological advances associated with clinical care, including enhanced diagnostics and monitoring. Although nursing skills go beyond monitoring devices, technology inventions, such as tablet computers and mobile electronic charts, to radio-frequency identification (RFID)-enabled devices, wearables, they play a decisive role in making the nursing field more advanced and efficient, as well as being better adapted to the needs of the patient.

Therefore, modern critical care nursing involves an in-depth interaction with smart technology. Smart healthcare represents a more universal approach to healthcare that integrates cutting-edge technologies to deal with healthcare data management and utilisation. Data can be analysed, visualised, and shared in real time; thus, improving clinical outcomes (Van Cauwenberghe, 2016). Cost-saving and time-effective collaborative relationships among patients, physicians, clinicians, managers, insurers, and healthcare organisations, in general, are promoted. Communications are integrated into a single, consolidated infrastructure; thereby, empowering communities and individuals with the necessary tools and knowledge to make more informed decisions. In fact, the transition from a conventional healthcare system towards a more integrated, interoperable, and flexible connected system requires highly skilled nursing professionals. Inter-cooperation among nursing and medical professionals to access critical information from any place using any kind of devices, such as a desktop, mobile, or tablet platform will be crucial to improving care delivery.



I would like to thank all contributors from industry involved with the development and delivery of this article from the TechVision Group at Frost & Sullivan.


Alastalo, M., Salminen, L., Lakanmaa, R.L. and Leino-Kilpi, H., 2017. Seeing beyond monitors—Critical care nurses’ multiple skills in patient observation: Descriptive qualitative study. Intensive and critical care nursing, 42, pp.80-87.

Das, R. 2018. Artificial Intelligence Virtual Assistants in Healthcare – From Echo to the Enterprise Improved Workflow, Operational Efficiency, and Customer Journey Will be Available to All Stakeholders. Frost & Sullivan Research Service. Growth Insights. 9837/EC. Healthcare.

Palomar-Aumatell, X., Subirana-Casacuberta, M. and Mila-Villarroel, R., 2017. Critical care nursing interventions and the time required for their completion in Intensive Care Units: A Delphi study. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 43, pp.87-93.

Van Cauwenberghe, C. 2016. Technologies Empowering Smart Healthcare – The Optimal Synergy Between Leading-Edge Hi-Tech and Digital Innovation. Frost & Sullivan Research Service. TechVision. D74F.


Cecilia Van Cauwenberghe, PhD, MSc, BA

Associate Fellow and Senior Industry Analyst

TechVision Group, Frost & Sullivan


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