Plan for Success: Caring for Obese Patients in Critical Care

Part of AACN Critical Care Webinar Series

Presenter(s): Wanda Pritts, MSN, RN, CNS, CEN, CCRN

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Webinar Summary

Obesity is an increasingly pervasive health problem, and caring for hospitalized obese patients presents a wide array of issues for nurses. Effective care of obese patients requires careful consideration and planning, from simple tasks such as taking blood pressure or transferring to a stretcher to complex emergent situations such as airway compromise.

In this webinar, clinical nurse specialist Wanda Pritts applies a system-based approach to describe the physiologic impact of obesity. Using a case study, she illustrates the vulnerability of obese patients and the need for vigilant monitoring, reviews nutrition support, strategies to address immobility and resuscitation procedures. Bariatric surgery options and surgical complications are also discussed. These proactive and collaborative strategies are appropriate for nurses in progressive care, critical care and acute care settings.


  • Discuss the physiologic impact of obesity and priorities in patient assessment.
  • Describe nursing interventions to address the challenges in airway management and resuscitation with obese patients.
  • Identify three proactive actions that nurses can take to provide safe and effective care for obese patients during acute hospital admission.


Wanda Pritts, MSN, RN, CNS, CEN, CCRN

Wanda Pritts, MSN, RN, CNS, CEN, CCRN

Wanda Pritts is a clinical educator and stroke coordinator at Placentia-Linda Hospital, Placentia, California. She earned an MSN from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and has been a nurse for 35 years. Pritts has a wide range of experience in a variety of clinical settings, including medical-surgical, progressive care, emergency care and critical care as a staff nurse, flight nurse and clinical nurse specialist. She has presented at local, regional and national conferences, including AACN’s National Teaching Institute and the Emergency Nurses Association Scientific Assembly. Her passion is facilitating staff to connect complex physiology to daily nursing practice. Pritts teaches about the unique care requirements of obese patients, and consults and supports the staff of the Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

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


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider number CEP 1036, for 1.00 contact hours.

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN, ANCC, or CBRN approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.


Any relevant relationship between an ineligible company and an individual with the ability to influence clinical content will be identified by the Nurse Planner within the activity. Any relevant relationship between an ineligible company and an individual with the ability to influence clinical content has been mitigated.

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.

Refund Policy

Continuing Education Activities are nonrefundable.