by Malcolm Rosenberg, RN
Illustrations by Scott Brown

A very brief and complete explanation of mechanical ventilation.
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About eight years ago, I worked on a monitored pulmonary floor that had four ventilator beds. My formal training was minimal, so I learned on the job, as best I could. As a beginner, I asked a lot of questions, read a ton of books, and had a hard time. This short book can serve as a substitute for what I went through.

  • It has enough information to get started, with confidence.
  • It has enough information to take a report in the ICU.
  • It has enough information to understand ventilator settings in relation to the last ABG.
  • It has enough information to let you walk into a room, look at the patient, look at the ventilator and quickly know if the ventilator settings and patient behavior are consistent with the report.
  • It gives you a headstart toward learning the alarms and how to respond to the patient and machine.