1. Gephart, Sheila M. RN, BSN
  2. McGrath, Jacqueline M. PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN
  3. Effken, Judith A. PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI


Failure to rescue (FTR) has been described as the end result of a series of events relating to the environment of care and nursing quality. Only recently has FTR as a process measure been applied to perinatal care settings. Nurses' continuous presence at the bedside puts them in a privileged position to recognize signs of clinical deterioration and to take action. Many factors contribute to nurses' ability to save lives when infants develop complications. Although such factors are often system-related, nurses may be held responsible if they do not act according to an acceptable standard of care. In the neonatal intensive care unit, FTR has not been applied or adopted as a measure of nursing quality. This article describes how FTR is relevant in the neonatal intensive care unit and outlines nursing and system actions that can be taken to rescue some of the hospital's most vulnerable patients.