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The pharmacist provides the medications that will be required for this procedure

for the patient including the sedation, opioids, and anticoagulants. The dietician will work with

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the ICU nurse to ensure the patient receives adequate nutrition through intravenous fluids. The

roles and responsibilities of the nurse as a member of the interdisciplinary team caring for the

patient is to be an advocate for their patient and ensure their patient is receiving therapeutic care.

The nurse monitors and assesses the patient constantly to ensure the machine is working

therapeutically and the ensure there are no developing complications such as infections, bleeding

or kidney failure. The nurse also ensures to provide education and communication with the

family and loved ones of the patient to the extent desired by the patient.

Nursing Scope of Practice

The Registered Nurse providing care for a patient utilizing the therapeutic modality of

ECMO must have advanced knowledge in providing intensive and critical care to these patients,

as the illnesses that tend to lead to the use of this modality are those that are more severe and

incurable such as lung and heart failures. These patients require close and constant monitoring

and assessment as their status may change for the worse as they have tubes directly leading into

their arteries and ventricles. The skills needed for this care includes the ability to read and

interpret vitals and lab results, the ability to perform a complete and thorough head to toe

assessment, the ability to initiate IV lines and maintain correct flow, the ability to provide

therapeutic communication and education to families, and the ability to work well with other

professional members of the staff caring for their patients. The attitudes needed by a nurse caring

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for this type of patient needs to include compassion, patience, confidence in skill, therapeutic

towards family and loved ones, and willing cooperation with other members of the

interdisciplinary team to provide the best care possible for the patient.

Patient Education

As a nurse caring for a patient utilizing the ECMO modality, there will be concerned

family members and loved ones who do not fully understand what is going on, including the

patient themselves. The education that must be provided to the patient and family first and

foremost will be explanation of the patient’s condition or diagnosis, and what it means. The nurse

will then have to provide an explanation of the ECMO modality, including what it is used for,

how the procedure is performed, and what it means for the patient to have it done and what they

can expect as risks, benefits, and outcomes of this procedure. The nurse can discuss this

information with the patient and family by providing informative brochures and booklets that go

into detail and provide images to help the patient and family better understand. The nurse will

explain the care that will be provided while the patient is on this machine, along with the

medications that will be administered, their purpose, effects, and benefits. The nurse can evaluate

the effectiveness of their teaching by asking the patient and family to repeat back to her what

they have learned and understood about the procedure and asking for any concerns or questions

they may still have.

Conclusion

Overall, with this paper, I attempted to thoroughly discuss the therapeutic modality of

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, also known as a life support machine. This machine

provides a therapeutic support to patients whose heart and lungs have been severely impaired and

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can no longer supply adequate blood and oxygen needed to support their organs and body

functions as a whole. This machine essentially does the work of the lungs and heart for the

patient, allowing the patient’s organs to rest and heal themselves as much as possible. For

patients and family members who may want to learn further about this therapeutic modality, the

American Thoracic Society provides thorough information on the therapeutic modality of

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

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References

American Thoracic Society. (2020, March). What is extracorporeal membrane

oxygenation? https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/what-is-

ecmo.pdf

Mishra, V., Svennevig, J. L., Bugge, J. F., Andresen, S., Mathisen, A., Karlsen, H., Khushi, I., &

Hagen, T. P. (2016). Cost of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: Evidence from the

Rikshospitalet University hospital, Oslo, Norway. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic

Surgery. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejcts.2009.06.059

Sieg, A., Pandya, K., Winstead, R., & Evans, R. (2019). Overview of pharmacological

considerations in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Critical Care Nurse, 39(2), 29-

43. https://doi.org/10.4037/ccn2019236

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