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Featured Articles

January 10, 2019

How Common Pain Relievers May Promote Clostridium Difficile Infections

Clostridium difficile causes the most common and most dangerous hospital-born infections in the United States and around the world. People treated with antibiotics are at heightened risk because those drugs disturb the microbial balance of the gut, but observational studies have also identified a link between severe C. difficile infections and use of NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.  Read More

Plumbing Contamination Linked with Cluster of Infections from Rare Sphingomona Species

Health care-associated infection (HAI) rates are down overall in the United States but remain a problem in health care settings. In 2015 there were an estimated 687,000 HAIs in US acute care hospitals, and 72,000 hospital patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations. Although surgical site infections, pneumonia, and Clostridium difficile infections account for most HAIs, the NEJM study detailed a cluster of infections caused by waterborne Sphingomonas species, including S koreensis, an uncommon gram-negative bacterium that was first documented as a human pathogen in a 2015 study. Read More

Characteristics of Skin, Soft Tissue Infections Requiring High-Level Care

Data published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine identified a limited number of simple clinical characteristics that appear to identify skin and soft tissue infections that require high-level inpatient services. A noncurrent review of existing records identified emergency department patients treated for skin and soft tissue infections. The presence or absence of select criteria was recorded for each case, along with whether the patient needed high-level care (defined as intensive care unit admission, operating room surgical intervention, or death as the primary outcome). Recursive partitioning was then applied to identify the principal criteria associated with high-level care. Read More

ICU Stethoscopes Harbor DNA from Nosocomial Bacteria

Stethoscopes are often used on multiple patients, and have been considered as vectors for hospital-based bacterial contamination. In this study, the authors used molecular methods to investigate the bacterial status of stethoscopes used in medical ICUs, even those that are used only once, and whether conventional methods of cleaning stethoscopes effectively decontaminate them and, if not, what microbes may be found on them. Read More