Resources for


Nurses on the Front Line of Sepsis

Sepsis is the #1 cause of death in the U.S. and accounts for about 6% of acute care admissions each year. It is also the #1 cause of readmission to acute care facilities, with a 90-day readmission rate of nearly 40%. On average, approximately 35% of patients diagnosed with septic shock do not survive. Estimates also indicate that 78% of patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 also have sepsis.

Nurses know all too well that these statistics are not just numbers; they represent actual people ― your patients, individuals with families and lives of their own. Clearly, many patients admitted to an acute care hospital are at risk for developing sepsis or septic shock.

AACN understands that as clinicians at the forefront of care, you are uniquely positioned to impact their odds of survival.

Early recognition is essential. Some studies estimate that mortality increases 4%-9% every hour that sepsis treatment is delayed. Your crucial first assessment can make all the difference ― but you need to know the signs. Keeping up with the latest evidence-based knowledge and best practices enables you to maximize the impact of your care for patients with sepsis and septic shock.

AACN offers an array of resources that translate current sepsis guidelines, research, evidence and recommended practices specifically for application by nurses at the bedside.

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What Nurses Can Do

Actions to help prepare you and your unit for the fight against sepsis

Keep Current
… with definitions, guidelines, bundle recommendations and nursing care for patients with sepsis and septic shock. Access updates in AACN’s Continuing Education Activities library.
Talk Frequently
… about sepsis recommendations, updates, bundles and questions with colleagues and providers. Help educate patients and families about their role in addressing sepsis.
Share Resources
… with your colleagues to help all of you stay up-to-date on sepsis. Work with your educator, manager or the clinical leaders on your unit to develop an information-sharing process.
Assess Thoughtfully
… and use data to guide your decision making and patient care priorities. If in doubt, validate your assessments and clinical decisions with a peer, APRN or other healthcare provider.

An Expert Perspective: Nursing and Sepsis

National sepsis expert Maureen Seckel has been caring for patients with sepsis for over 40 years. A critical care CNS and sepsis coordinator, Seckel has served as AACN representative and co-author for several Surviving Sepsis Guidelines updates. In this video interview, she shares her thoughts about:

Research on Early Sepsis Identification | Use of Biologics in Sepsis | Helpful Sepsis Resources

Key Sepsis Resources

As the first line of defense for patients with sepsis, your early recognition of the signs and ability to deliver timely, effective care can mean the difference between life and death.

Keep up with the latest developments in sepsis treatment with this timely selection of AACN resources, intended to help you deliver the best evidence-based care for patients with sepsis.

Update Your Practice With the 2021 Sepsis Guidelines Webinar

High sepsis mortality rates persist, particularly for patients with organ dysfunction. In this webinar, clinical nurse specialist and sepsis expert Maureen Seckel reviews the newest updates to the “International Guidelines for Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock” and helps you translate them for your nursing practice.

Surviving Sepsis in the Era of COVID-19

This recorded NTI session emphasizes the evolution of sepsis guidelines and definitions and how they impact nurses at the bedside. The nuances and controversies related to treating patients with COVID-19 are also discussed.

Next Frontier: Microbiome and Epigenetics in the Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock

The one-size-fits-all approach of sepsis treatment (cultures, antibiotics, fluid resuscitation and vasopressors) may be replaced by a tailored approach taking into consideration the patient’s host response, microbiome and the epigenetic changes related to the invasive organism.

Inadequate Oxygen Delivery Dose and Major Adverse Events in Critically Ill Children With Sepsis

This discussion of the emerging and promising arena of predictive analytics in oxygen delivery addresses use of the inadequate oxygen delivery (IDo2) index — a predictive algorithm that estimates the probability of inadequate systemic delivery of oxygen — in pediatric patients with sepsis.

Nursing Implications of the Updated 2021 Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines

In addition to maintaining many existing recommendations, the 2021 Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines feature new content with implications for nursing — including long-term outcomes and goals of care for patients across the continuum through recovery.

Additional Resources

Access AACN’s complete library of programs and publications on caring for patients with sepsis below. This compilation of resources includes journal articles, webinars, recorded conference sessions and CE activities to improve your understanding of sepsis and enhance your practice.

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