Designing a Critical Care Nurse–Led Rapid Response Team Using Only Available Resources: 6 Years Later

Author(s): Anne Mitchell, RN, MSN, CCRN, CEN, CNS-BC, Marilyn Schatz, RN, BSN, CCRN, Heather Francis, RN, MBA, BSN

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP A 1.00

Expires Jun 01, 2018

Topics: Patient Safety

Population: Lifespan

Role: Manager

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

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Activity Summary

Rapid response teams have been introduced to intervene in the care of patients whose condition deteriorates unexpectedly by bringing clinical experts quickly to the patient’s bedside. Evidence supporting the need to overcome failure to deliver optimal care in hospitals is robust; whether rapid response teams demonstrate benefit by improving patient safety and reducing the occurrence of adverse events remains controversial. Despite inconsistent evidence regarding the effectiveness of rapid response teams, concerns regarding care and costly consequences of unaddressed deterioration in patients’ condition have prompted many hospitals to implement rapid response teams as a patient safety strategy. A cost-neutral structure for a rapid response team led by a nurse from the intensive care unit was implemented with the goal of reducing cardiopulmonary arrests occurring outside the intensive care unit. The results of 6 years’ experience indicate that a sustainable and effective rapid response team response can be put into practice without increasing costs or adding positions and can decrease the percentage of cardiopulmonary arrests occurring outside the intensive care unit.


  • Compare/contrast the evidence regarding effectiveness of rapid response systems to reduce the occurrence of adverse patient events
  • List benefits of rapid response systems according to the literature
  • Discuss the experience of implementing a rapid response program in a hospital setting

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