1. Bennett, Trish MSN, RN, CCRN
  2. Duffy, Melanie MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS

Article Content


The purpose of the presentation is to provide an informational framework for the Clinical Nurse Specialist whose goal is to implement a Rapid Response Team in an acute care facility. The presentation will outline the planning and educational processes necessary to operationalize the program.



The presentation will provide valuable information regarding the history and key components of a Rapid Response Team. Early recognition and intervention in an unstable clinical situation will be discussed. The goal is improved patient outcomes and promotion of the concept, "caregivers helping caregivers to save lives."



The Rapid Response Team was originally pursued by a physician in Australia based on the concept of "failure to rescue." Studies have identified that most patients who experience a cardiopulmonary arrest have changes in physiologic parameters up to 8 hours preceding the arrest. Data show that survival to discharge from in-hospital cardiac arrest ranges between 10% and 17%.



Initial planning for the Rapid Response Team (RRT) included meetings to discuss the concept of an RRT and what would be required to implement a Team. The role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist throughout the process will be highlighted. Decisions to be made included: team composition; clinical call parameters, how to activate the Team, documentation methods, institutional education, and follow-up monitoring.



The Rapid Response Team was activated in August 2005. A monthly average of 23 Rapid Response Team calls occurred between August 2005 and April 2006. Examples of clinical issues and interventions will be provided. Data demonstrate that as RRT calls increased, overall hospital mortality rate decreased. Updated data will be provided for the presentation.





Implications for Practice:

Implications for practice include the following: improved knowledge base of the non-Critical Care staff nurse through interaction with the RRT Critical Care staff nurse, prevention of a deteriorating clinical situation through a multidisciplinary team effort, and empowering the staff nurse to rapidly access resources to optimize patient care and contribute to a positive outcome. The presentation will emphasize the pivotal role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist in the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the overall concept of the Rapid Response Team.