Aims: To identify the management process of the nurse in directly caring for the hospitalized client in an intensive care unit; to characterize how the work process of the intensive care nurse guides the caring provided to the client and; to discuss the management process of direct care of the work performed by the intensive care nurse. Method: This is a descriptive study based on a qualitative approach, undertaken with 16 nurses. To collect the information, we used a semi-structured interview, non-participative observation and a field journal. The results were later categorized and submitted to content analysis based on Bardin’s principles.Results: The nurse has two guiding axes to his actions: the mind map and the real map. The designs done on the mind map start from a single point, with the information radiating from this central point. However, when implementing management processes that were planned mentally, nurses generate a real map based on which they know how to perform.Conclusion: In caring management, the nurse sees himself connected with the client, even though the professional does not get involved with direct care tasks.
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