Acute medical care

Acute medical care refers to promptly treating diseases that appear suddenly. Acute medical care can be provided in an outpatient setting, e.g. a doctor’s surgery, or an inpatient setting, for example in the course of a hospital stay. Below you will find an overview of possible work settings for nursing and care professionals in the field of acute medical care.

At a breast health centre, you will work with colleagues from different fields such as surgery, gynaecology, oncology, radio diagnostics, radiotherapy, nuclear medicine, pathology, plastic surgery and psychology. Collaborating across their disciplines all experts work together to ensure the wellbeing of women suffering from breast cancer. As a breast care nurse, you will be responsible for providing professional care, assistance and support to your patients. Work in this field is based on gaining your patients’ trust and covers the entire treatment process including follow-up care.

People with cognitive impairments, i.e. problems with thought processes, are also at a high risk for suffering from acute mental confusion (referred to as “delirium”). This kind of confusion frequently happens after surgery. It causes severe complications which prolong the length of a hospital stay and thus cause a lot of distress and high costs. By applying holistic nursing and care strategies as part of delirium management every effort will be made to prevent delirium. As a member of a delirium management team, you will work to make hospital stays safe and reduce their length to help your patients make a speedy recovery.

As a graduate healthcare and nursing professional working in diabetes counselling, you educate and support your patients in managing their daily life with the metabolic disorder of diabetes mellitus in the best possible way. Currently, counselling is mostly provided online by means of video conferencing. In a video call via smartphone, tablet or PC you will give your patients the most important information about symptoms, measuring blood sugar levels, proper diet and exercise. Any questions that might arise will be answered immediately. This allows you to support your patients as effectively as possible.

After a stay in hospital, patients might need further care services, such as a wheelchair, adaptations to their homes, social care services or short-term or long-term nursing. Discharge managers advise and support their patients and organise everything they need after leaving hospital. Together with your patients you will decide which care services would fit them best.

To find pathogenic germs and reduce and/or prevent possible infections, hygiene professionals develop measures and guidelines for all healthcare professions and institutions on the basis of scientific findings. Nursing and care professionals working in the field of hygiene make an important contribution to preserving the health of the individual and of society. At the same time, they help to reduce personal distress and financial costs.

Intensive care units (ICU) provide medical and nursing care to critically ill patients with a wide variety of conditions. An infectious disease ICU specialises in the care of highly contagious and life-threatening diseases like Ebola, MERS and, recently, COVID-19. If you would like to care for patients in this setting you need regular specialised training. Moreover, working in this area is always based on trust. As a team member of an infectious disease ICU you closely work with colleagues from other fields.

Intensive care nursing is an area of nursing which is practiced in intensive medical care settings – on observation wards or intensive care units. As an ICU nurse you provide care services to critically ill people together with colleagues from different disciplines. For this purpose, you need comprehensive knowledge in nursing and care and a high level of technical skills to be able to properly use complex medical equipment. As you will also support patients’ families in stressful situations, social/communication skills are equally important to successfully work in this field.

Laboratories are another possible work setting for graduate healthcare and nursing professionals. Responsibilities include for example taking blood samples form adults and children, taking swabs from different parts of the body and performing an ECG which measures patients’ heart activity. As a member of the field staff, you will take blood samples or swabs from patients in their homes or take blood samples in the context of company health screenings at the workplace.

Graduate healthcare and nursing professionals working at a neonatology ICU provide nursing care to and support the development of newborns and premature infants. Premature babies need time to grow and mature and there are quite a number of obstacles that need to be overcome. You will support your little patients and their parents in these difficult times, helping them to cope with mental and emotional challenges, but also with health issues like (emergency) caesarean sections and high-risk deliveries or medical problems of the baby such as breathing difficulties or heart defects. Your responsibilities also include training parents in handling and caring for their newborn baby and taking care of the baby hatch.

Surgical nurses know all surgical processes and procedures in different disciplines. They are familiar with high-tech equipment, think ahead and react to life-threatening and difficult situations. Their patients’ wellbeing is always at the centre of their work.

Palliative care focuses on the treatment of people who suffer from an incurable disease and only have a short time to live. Responsibilities of a palliative care nurse include reducing patients’ pain and improving their quality of life as well as providing emotional and spiritual support to patients and their families. As a palliative care nurse your task is to create a pleasant and comfortable environment for personal needs, individual goodbyes, and dignified and respectful support.

Primary care providers act as the first point of contact with the healthcare system. Usually, general practitioners serve as the first contact for health issues. Today, they closely cooperate with other healthcare and social professionals. As a primary care nurse, you share your nursing expertise with a multi-professional team working jointly to provide the best care possible for your patients. Your responsibilities will include counselling and coordination in close cooperation with other healthcare providers as well as practical works such as wound management and physical examinations in a surgery or on house calls.

Pulmonology or pneumonology is a branch of internal medicine which is concerned with diseases of the lungs. Specific nursing interventions at a department for respiratory and pulmonary medicine include quick recognition, individual support and immediate crisis management for acute shortness of breath. In addition, graduate healthcare and nursing professionals working in this field are also responsible for health counselling and for providing information, training and advice on breathing techniques (patient education). Further tasks involve psychosocial support for chronically ill people and people suffering from tumours.

Graduate healthcare and nursing professionals working in wound management provide care services to patients with complex chronic wounds. The aim is to let the wound heal under proper conditions and support the healing process. Each wound will be treated individually and according to the situation. Wound rounds, training and counselling help to develop a multi-professional concept to promote the healing process, consisting of individual local therapy recommendations for the hospital stay, and also offering guidance for follow-up care afterwards.

People living or staying in Vienna who are worried about a health issue can call the health hotline of Fonds Soziales Wien (Vienna Social Fund) at 1450 for advice and support. As a graduate healthcare and nursing professional you will give callers specific recommendations on what to do and inform them about the appropriate point of contact in the healthcare system. Vienna’s health hotline is available 24 hours a day on seven days a week.

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Drunk? Slurred speech can also be caused by a stroke.