Vanderbilt anesthesiologists provide critical care services in many of Vanderbilt University Hospital’s ICUs, including those in an 11-story Critical Care Tower opened in November 2009. The 329,000-square-foot tower includes 12 state-of-the-art operating rooms and 102 patient beds in medical, surgical and neurological intensive care units. Because Vanderbilt University Hospital is the region’s only Level I Trauma Center and is home to the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, the Division of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine plays a vital role in providing outstanding care to the most complex of cases.
To address the growing demands for critical care services, there are now 33 acute care nurse practitioners and two physician assistants in the Department of Anesthesiology Division of Critical Care Medicine, making Vanderbilt one of the largest employers of nurse practitioners in the country. These critical care practitioners have faculty appointments and work alongside the Division’s intensivist faculty. The Division employs a multidisciplinary, intensivist-lead critical care model that is being deployed with increasing frequency across the nation, according to Critical Care Medicine Chief Lee Parmley, MD, JD.
Through a novel partnership with the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and the Division of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine, acute care nurse practitioner students receive specialty training in critical care. Graduates of the program are invaluable partners in the critical care teams at Vanderbilt and elsewhere. This program was awarded a Health Research Services Administration grant to promote its further development. In March 2012, an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) Intensivist Fellowship was created through the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, based on the ongoing alliance between the Critical Care Division and the School of Nursing.
Several Critical Care Medicine faculty members have ongoing research projects. One study by investigators Chad Wagner, MD, Medical Director for Cardiovascular Surgery for the CVICU, and Anne Miller, PhD, looks at the interdisciplinary communication that occurs during the rounding process in the cardiovascular intensive care unit and seeks to identify ways to improve continuity of care across shifts. Frederic “Josh” Billings IV, MD, MSc has current investigations related to post-operative acute kidney injury, funded by a K-23 award. Pratik Pandharipande, MD, MSCI, has several ongoing studies, including one funded by a new, five-year R-01, examining post-operative delirium as well as sedation and analgesia in the ICU.
Complementing the ongoing research and continued improvements in clinical operations, education is a focus of the Division. Learners all along the continuum from medical students to fellows receive training and education from the Division’s faculty. The division’s ACGME accredited Critical Care Medicine fellowship is seeing a continue increase in the number and quality of its applicants.