Fever in Acute and Critical Care A Diagnostic Approach

Author(s): Nancy Munro, RN, MN, CCRN, ACNP-BC

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP A 1.00

Expires Jul 01, 2018

Topics: Multisystem

Population: Lifespan

Role: APRN

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

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Activity Summary

Determining the underlying cause of a fever can be a daunting task. Multiple reasons have been found for a patient to have a fever, but the use of an organized approach will assist clinicians in reaching a correct diagnosis. The first step in this process is a complete assessment, including a thorough physical assessment and an evaluation of the history of present illness as well as a detailed review of all the patient’s medications. Infection should always be a primary consideration for the cause of a fever. Evaluating each body system can match symptoms with a possible cause for fever, and proper testing and imaging can be pursued. Noninfectious causes of fever need to be included in the differential diagnostic process. This article provides an analytic approach to fever in adult patients in the acute and critical care environment.


  • Describe the mechanism of fever.
  • Summarize a comprehensive process for evaluating fever.
  • Identify methods for measurement of fever.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. Approval of a continuing education activity does not imply endorsement by AACN or ANCC of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with the activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012 (60 min contact hour). AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing, California Provider number CEP01036 for 1.2 contact hours (50 min contact hour).

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.