Staff Nurses' Perceptions of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Rapid Response Teams
Rapid Response Teams (RRT) are critically important in hospital settings to reduce the failure to resuscitate patients however, there are questions as to the perceptions of nurses concerning RRTs.
The significance of this study is the knowledge that will be added to the existing base of knowledge on the perceptions of nurses of RRTs.
The work of Heintz and Schreiner (2007) entitled "Improving Patient Safety Through the Use of Rapid Response Teams" states in relation to the perceptions of nurses to rapid response teams that staff nurses "… may be fearful that RRT members will criticize their clinical judgment." In a separate work entitled "Rapid Response Teams: Reducing Codes and Raising Morale" it is reported that many hospital nurses like the idea of a Rapid Response Team and in fact "an addition to their significant value as a clinical tool, Rapid Response Teams are also changing hospital culture. Nurses are encouraged and empowered to ask for help without fear of appearing incompetent, there's more emphasis on shared learning, and everyone gets the message that support is a critical component in clinically challenging situations. All these benefits are expected to have a positive impact on nursing recruitment, retention, and satisfaction." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
It is stated that long-time nurses state that the Rapid Response Team concept "draws on the kind of collaboration that has always been part of the profession, but that has been harder to maintain as nurses have gotten busier with more and sicker patients." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010) One nurse, Mary Therriault, RN, stated:
"When I began in nursing, I was surrounded by people with different levels of education and experience, and I would always ask someone to give me their opinion about things like a patient's color or mental status… "It felt like team care, and I think we got away from that. This brings back the team concept." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
The idea is stated to be to attract new nurses and so much that they state "they only considered jobs at hospitals that have Rapid Response Teams…" (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010) In fact, one new nurse stated that one of her greatest fears was having to work the night shift "and having no one to go to if a patient's condition changes." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010) According to nursing program chair at Richmond Heights Hospital;
"The average age of our students is 32," she says. "These somewhat older students may be new to nursing, but they often bring well developed critical thinking skills and many have gained self-confidence in another career and aren't afraid to ask for help. They aren't insecure and worried about appearing inadequate." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
The faculty expert, Kathy Duncan states that the nursing community is excited as the word about the Rapid Response Team spreads and states specifically:
"The appeal of the Rapid Response Team is that nurses don't have to go it alone anymore," she says. "It means they don't have to feel alone when they have an inkling that something might be wrong. It means they can get a colleague or several to validate their concerns or put them to rest." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
Duncan goes on to state as follows: "his kind of support might be the antidote to the frustration many new nurses reportedly feel, says Duncan, "when we throw them out there with several really sick patients and no tools to help them take care of those patients." This frustration and the accompanying fear of making a mistake is likely one of the reasons that a 2001 report published in Health Affairs found about a third of nurses under the age of 30 reported plans to leave their hospital nursing jobs within a year." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010) Duncan additionally stated that one of her nurses informed the Chief Nursing Officer "that the Rapid Response Team is one of the best things she's ever done for nursing and for patients." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
According to Cathy Pfeil, RN, BSN, CCRN, "Director of Critical Care Nursing at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, a VHA-member hospital that has had Rapid Response Teams in place since 2003. Tallahassee Memorial has also been a part of IHI's RWJF-funded Pursuing Perfection program. Data bears out the nurses' perception: in less than two years the hospital saw a 16% reduction in mortality and a 72% reduction in codes outside the ICU." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010) This type of collaboration in the provision of care to a patient in a situation where the patient "needs it most has helped bridge an age-old cultural divide between ICU nurses and floor nurses." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010) Lisa Leach, LPN, an ICU nurse at UHHS Richmond Heights Hospital who serves on her hospital's Rapid Response Team stated:
"There's always been a little bit of tension between the two, but with the Rapid Response Team, the ICU nurses get a better understanding of what the floor nurses are dealing with. We care for two critically ill patients in the ICU; they have a demanding patient load and it is spread throughout the floor…says, the floor nurses grow to respect the expertise of their ICU colleagues, and begin to learn from them. "Now the nurses are better prepared when we get there. They are part of our team." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
According to Leach "…floor nurses will sometimes come to the ICU to check on a patient who was transferred there as a result of the Rapid Response Team call. Before, they would never come in the ICU. It just wasn't their territory. Now those barriers have been broken down." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
Sharon Garretson of Richmond Heights Hospital in Cleveland reports:
"…the initial resistance there has given way to strong support. If we said today we were going to get rid of the Rapid Response Team, we'd probably have a mutiny on our hands. Part of the key to that attitude change is data showing the impact of the Team." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
It is stated by Mary Beth Rauzi, RN, MSN, Manager of Learning Services at Richmond Heights:
"We have decreased cardiac arrests per 1,000 discharges by 44%, and cardiac arrests outside the ICU by 67%. Our total mortality is down 14%. When nurses see results like that, they see that they are making good calls, their judgment is being validated, and they are proud to be part of this change." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
It was stated by Barbara Rogness at St. Joseph's in Milwaukee that the following comments were given when she evaluated each Rapid Response Team:
This was a great experience, with great ideas put into place quickly.
The team asked for my needs, and then together we dealt with the patient's needs.
Several suggestions made the patient outcome improve.
Although this patient's assessment was unremarkable, the x-ray the team ordered was instrumental in diagnosing his worsening heart failure. (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010 )
These types of comments are reported by Kathy Duncan to be heard in hospitals all across the United States and Duncan states:
"What nurses are discovering is that this is not just a tool to rescue patients. It's a tool to help colleagues support one another. The more I see it in practice and the more I study it, the more convinced I am that this represents a dramatic change in the culture of nursing, and an exceptionally good teaching tool. What a new nurse can learn on one Rapid Response call will help her and her patients for the next 20 years." (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2010)
Studies examining the performance of hospitals in regards to the failure to rescue acutely ill patients show that this failure is "strongly associated with serious adverse events, cardiac arrest or death. Rapid response systems (RRSs) and their efferent arm, the medical emergency team (MET), provide early specialist critical care to patients affected by the 'MET syndrome': unequivocal physiological instability or significant hospital staff concern for patients in a non-critical care environment." (Tee, et al., 2008) This intervention has as its aim the prevention of serious adverse events, cardiac arrests and unexpected deaths. While this intervention is "clinically logical and relatively simple, its adoption poses major challenges." (Tee, et al., 2008)
The effectiveness concerning Rapid Response Systems is difficult to ascertain. It is difficult to implement a complex intervention like a Rapid Response System poses challenges including:
(3) logistic; and (4) financial challenges. (Tee, et al., 2008)
Double-blinded randomized controlled trials of RRS are not possible. It is concluded that the use of RRS and evidence being accumulated in various settings and situations "will increase the rationale and logic of RRS. Patients that are treated in hospitals are reported to be "increasingly complex patients…" and it is stated that despite the growth of…