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Using Critical Thinking to Manage Oxygen Therapies - DEMO

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Before beginning a mini review of the respiratory system, oxygen must be discussed. Although oxygen is defined in one way as an element and member of the periodic table, within the medical profession this substance is defined as an inspired atmospheric gas necessary in maintaining adequate oxygenation and perfusion to all body cells, preventing hypoxia and sustaining life. Often throughout medical and nursing literature, the term oxygen therapy is utilized. A composite definition culled from professional literature is:  use of oxygen as a therapeutic modality to maintain adequate systemic oxygenation and perfusion, maintain homeostasis, promote quality of life and prevent decompensation. 

Defining the term is important to defining the reasoning used when caring for a patient requiring oxygen. Although oxygen therapy requires a physician order, a nurse’s clinical judgment is used to manage and determine tolerance of the therapy, as well as recognizing when a patient’s status is not what it should be.  Having sound clinical reasoning requires a strong knowledge base and effective critical thinking skills. Therefore, a good starting point for knowledge about oxygen therapy is its definition.       

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