Do you know what Hyperbaric nursing is?

Hyperbaric nursing may be one of the more unusual nursing specialties. It originated in the 1950s in Europe, where nurses became involved in supporting medical technology and care of people being treated in hyperbaric chambers. Hyperbaric nursing was first recognized as a specialty in 1985, when the Baromedical Nurses Association was founded. A certification board was established in 1995, when the certification exam first became available.

Hyperbaric chambers were originally used to help deep sea divers who might otherwise suffer “the bends,” a painful condition that results when gases dissolved in the blood stream come out as bubbles during a rapid ascent. The bends may also occur in high-altitude pilots and astronauts. The bubbles can form anywhere in the body, but primarily occur in the joints. The pain is excruciating and can result in permanent disability. Hyperbaric chambers deliver oxygen at two to three times normal atmospheric pressure, which prevents the gases from forming bubbles. They are also used to treat a variety of other illnesses such as carbon monoxide poisoning, gas gangrene, severe anemia and non-healing wounds, as well as severe bone and soft tissue infections.

Hyperbaric nurses must be especially conscious of patient safety, as oxygen is extremely flammable. For example, one of the nurse’s duties is to ensure that patients don’t wear any petroleum- or alcohol-based products like hair spray that could trigger a fire. Seizures from oxygen toxicity are also a possibility. Hyperbaric nurses teach patients breathing exercises to help avoid seizures as well as techniques such as “popping” the ears when pressure builds up. In addition to monitoring and supporting the patient, the nurse operates the hyperbaric chamber, adjusting the pressure according to the parameters set for medical treatment. Post-treatment side effects may include minor symptoms like transient dizziness or more serious problems like bleeding from the ears or vision changes; the nurse must be alert to all these symptoms and ready to act at a moment’s notice.

Any of the three basic educational options offered in nursing — associate degree, nursing diploma or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) — is acceptable for hyperbaric nursing. However, most hyperbaric chambers are operated by hospitals, which are more likely to prefer or require their nurses to have a BSN. Many of the medical conditions that require hyperbaric therapy are complex and severe, so critical care experience is valuable in this specialty. Although certification is not required for practice, it is an indication of specialized knowledge and competence in hyperbaric nursing, and may increase employment opportunities. Hyperbaric chambers are very expensive and typically found in larger hospitals and medical centers; only a limited number of nursing positions are available.



Written by 3rd in depended Party

2016-25444  Exp. 10/17