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Clinical Deterioration - Assess, Act and Avoid

  • : Warrnambool VIC 3280

2 Day Seminar for Nurses


There is a huge potential for patients across any clinical setting to rapidly become unwell. Recent system changes have been rolled out to encourage better management of clinical deterioration. However, your ability to recognise and respond to changes in a patient’s condition early is a high priority if acute illness is to be averted. Attend this two-day seminar to gain knowledge that will help you to feel more confident that your essential assessment skills and early nursing management can detect early cues, and prevent poor patient outcomes. Learn about:

  • The power of assessment when your patient is deteriorating
  • How to recognise sepsis early
  • Warning signs of acute kidney injury
  • How to recognise acute respiratory failure including basic CXR interpretation
  • Tips for recognising common arrhythmias and electrolyte imbalances
  • How to perform a basic interpretation of arterial blood gases
  • The power of communication when things don’t go to plan…

Attend this seminar if you are a nurse working in a general clinical setting and want to improve your ability to identify and manage patients whose clinical condition is deteriorating.


Need for Program

Growing numbers of high acuity patients are increasingly being cared for across a wide range of clinical settings, not just in acute care units such as intensive care units. The more acutely unwell a person is, the greater the risk of poor patient outcomes, including increased morbidity and mortality. Nurses are essential to the prevention, early detection and management of developing problems that can increase such morbidity and mortality. The ability to recognise and interpret clinical cues and then implement appropriate, evidence-based interventions in a timely manner has a significant positive impact on patient outcomes. Therefore, nurses must continually increase their knowledge to ensure they are sufficiently educated to care for patients at risk of deterioration and prevent them from becoming acutely unwell.

Purpose of Program

This seminar enables nurses working in general areas to feel more confident in their knowledge and ability to assess and manage patients whose clinical condition is deteriorating.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this program it is expected that the participants will be able to:

  • Relate pathophysiological principles that occur in acutely ill patients to prioritise assessment in a patient who is deteriorating
  • Correlate clinical assessment findings with pathophysiological processes occurring across a range of body systems
  • Apply a range of appropriate and timely evidence-based nursing interventions for a person who is acutely ill and whose condition is deteriorating
  • Recognise and respond to early signs of sepsis by implementing evidence-based interventions and thereby improving patient outcomes
  • Schedule Day One

    8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


    Welcome and Introduction to Program


    What Happens to a Person During Acute Illness?

    Acute illness can trigger an array of psychological and physiological responses that have the potential to be either beneficial or harmful. Whilst nurses need to focus their attention on what physiological changes may be occurring, we often forget that beneath this is a person! This brief introductory session considers what happens to not just the body but a person's mind and wellbeing during illness and the nursing implications for this.


    Essential Physical Assessment Skills

    Nurses are essential in the early detection of clinical triggers that may suggest a patient is deteriorating or has already become acutely unwell. Appropriate and timely assessment is known to reduce morbidity and mortality, thus improving patient outcomes. This session reviews important assessment considerations, including:

    • Why do we assess our patients?
    • Vitally important ‘vital signs’ - why are some clinical cues neglected?
    • Overview of Australian Commission on Safety and Quality Health Care Standard 9
    • Top tips for quick recognition of acute deterioration
      • Assessing consciousness
      • Assessing perfusion

    10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    Delirium - A Death Threat?

    Recognising and responding to deterioration in a patient’s mental state is now considered to be a national quality and safety priority. Delirium may be a cause of such deterioration and is a a common syndrome in hospitalised older adults. Yet this condition is often poorly understood, resulting in inadequate assessment and management. This session explains the need for urgency in assessment and management of delirium and includes:

    • What is delirium?
    • How does delirium develop and why is this often rapid?
    • Which is the most common type of delirium and the most common causes?
    • How is this differentiated from other conditions?
    • What nursing actions will create best patient outcomes?


    Sepsis and the Significance of Early Recognition

    Did you know that sepsis is one of the leading causes of death globally? Preventing mortality related to sepsis begins with early detection and timely interventions. This session uses case scenarios to explain the pathophysiological mechanisms by which sepsis develops. It will look at how you can detect the early warning signs of sepsis. Finally, it will assist you to understand the evidence-based management of this potentially fatal condition across a range of clinical settings. Includes:

    • What is the definition of sepsis?
    • What is the relationship between infection and sepsis?
    • Early recognition - what are the clinical signs? E.g. an increasing SOFA score
    • Why is timely intervention so important?
    • In a suspected or a known case of sepsis, what are the main nursing management priorities across a range of clinical settings?

    1:00pm - Lunch Break and Networking


    Recognising Respiratory Failure

    The respiratory system is often thought of as a difficult system to assess. However, the importance of assessment cannot be underestimated, particularly as problems associated with the respiratory system often result in acute deterioration and may be the cause of a patient becoming acutely unwell. This session will review key anatomical and physiological principles to guide your assessment of respiratory failure. Includes:

    • What is the difference between ventilation and oxygenation, and why does this matter?
    • Respiratory pathophysiology - Type I respiratory failure versus Type II respiratory failure


    The Respiratory System - Case Scenarios - When Things Go Wrong

    Building on your knowledge from the previous session, this interactive session uses case studies to highlight how to recognise (including CXR interpretation) and manage the following conditions:

    • Atelectasis
    • Pneumonia
    • Acute pulmonary oedema
    • Pneumothorax
    • Tension pneumothorax

    3:15pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    Non-Invasive Ventilation - For All Nurses

    Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is an important strategy for the management of acute respiratory conditions. NIV isn’t just confined to acute care settings. A wider scope of practice and a desire to manage more acutely ill patients away from acute care settings demands that a basic understanding of NIV is part of every nurse’s tool kit. This session will explain:

    • What are the different types of NIV? E.g. continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and biphasic positive airway pressure (BiPAP)
    • What are the indications for their use?
    • Practical strategies to assist with the introduction and management of NIV in your clinical practice

    4:15pm - Close of Day One of Program

    Day Two

    9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


    Chest Pain - What Do I Need to Do?

    Acute illness, can originate from or eventually compromise cardiovascular function. Chest pain may be an early indicator of this. So if your patient reports that they have chest pain, what would you do next? How would you assess this individual? Would you be confident in knowing the cause? Would you be able to act on this potential cause of acute illness to prevent a downward spiral of events? This session will leave you feeling much more confident that you can answer these questions. Includes:

    • What are the different types of chest pain and which of them are life threatening?
    • How to assess and differentiate dangerous cardiac pain from other chest pains
    • What to do when your patient reports they have chest pain
    • Useful update on the pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of chest pain


    Matching Symptoms to ECG Traces

    This practical session will hone your skills in the interpretation of ST segment and T wave changes on the ECG. It will correlate the presenting symptoms with what you see on the ECG tracing. Includes:

    • Significance of changes in the ST segment and T wave
    • Patient assessment and management strategies

    10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    Cardiogenic Shock - When the Heart Fails

    Heart failure relating to acute pulmonary oedema; pericarditis and pericardial tamponade, are potentially dangerous cardiac conditions requiring alert and responsive care. Your cardiac assessment skills are vital if you are to recognise these states early to ensure appropriate management occurs and rapid deterioration is prevented. In this session you will review the following considerations for three common types of cardiac failure:

    • Which patients are considered most at risk?
    • ECG changes
    • Goals of treatment
    • Pathophysiology related to clinical presentation
    • Identification and outline of early management


    Acute Kidney Injury - More Than Just Low Urine Output

    Acute onset of kidney injury ranges from mild impairment of function through to acute kidney failure. The incidence increases significantly with progressive severity of the underlying cause. Topics include:

    • A brief look at the role of the kidneys
    • What are the potential causes and classifications of acute kidney injury?
    • Recognising renal dysfunction and the key to preventing acute renal failure
    • What are the management principles of acute renal failure?
    • A look at renal replacement therapies - basic explanation

    12:45pm - Lunch Break and Networking


    Fluid and Electrolyte Balance

    Failure to recognise and appropriately treat fluid and electrolyte imbalances can have fatal consequences. Knowledge and understanding of normal physiological processes is essential for accurate patient assessment. This session will refresh your knowledge and assist you to get up to speed. As well, refresh your knowledge of the different types of fluids and their uses. Topics include:

    • What are the normal physiological processes of fluid balance?
    • What is hypovolaemic shock? How would you recognise it and what might the causes be?
    • What intravenous fluids should be used and when?
    • How to recognise electrolyte disturbances early


    Shifting the pH - Acid Base Balance

    A deviation from acid base balance homeostasis can severely affect any organ in the human body. In this interactive and practical session you will develop a better understanding of this complex topic. Includes:

    • Importance and physiology of acid base balance
    • Arterial blood gas analysis
    • Case studies for practice interpretation and management options

    3:00pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    When Things Don’t Go to Plan…

    While the purpose of clinical assessment is to prevent deterioration and recognise acute illness early, it is inevitable that some patients will become significantly unwell. This final session of the seminar will examine some of the key communication challenges that can occur when these sticky situations arise. Take away some key practical skills to help you manage your own stress during these situations.

    3:45pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


    Renee Di Giuseppe

    Renee Di Giuseppe

    Renee Di Giuseppe is a Critical Care Registered Nurse. She currently works in the Intensive Care Unit at a large private hospital in Melbourne and holds a Master’s degree in Health Science (Critical Care). Renee has a great passion for nursing, with experience as a clinical teacher for undergraduate nursing students, and is heavily involved in clinical teaching in the Intensive Care Unit.

    Clinical Deterioration - Assess, Act and Avoid
    Speciality Classification
    Provider Type
    11 hours 30 mins
    Start Date
    End Date
    11 hours 30 mins
    Price Details
    Warrnambool VIC 3280
    Mid City Warrnambool, 525 Raglan Parade
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