Improving Communication and Response to Clinical Deterioration to Increase Patient Safety in the Intensive Care Unit

Author(s): Susan I. Liu, BSN, RN, Morgan Shikar, MPA, BSN, RN, Emily Gante, BSN, RN, Patricia Prufeta, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Kaylee Ho, MS, Philip S. Barie, MD, MBA, MCCM, MAMSE, Robert J. Winchell, MD, Jennifer I. Lee, MD

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP C 1.00

Expires Oct 01, 2025

Topics: Communication, Patient Safety

Population: Adult

Role: Staff

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

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Activity Summary

Nurses spend more time at the bedside than any other provider and therefore are especially well positioned to identify subtle changes that may precede clinical deterioration. This article demonstrates how an initiative through the implementation of night multidisciplinary rounds, a case study review, and creation of an escalation note in the EHR, provided a surgical ICU with substantial insight into how to improve team-based care, communication and patient safety.


  • Describe the barriers to communication and escalation of patient decompensation in the intensive care unit setting.
  • Explain the nurse’s role in recognizing and communicating patient decompensation to providers to ensure early implementation of interventions.
  • Implement education to reduce communication disparities and prepare nurses to escalate clinical observations directly to the provider.

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.

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Continuing Education Activities are nonrefundable.