Do nurses know when to summon emergency assistance?

Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 1994 Jun;10(2):115-20. doi: 10.1016/0964-3397(94)90007-8.


At Liverpool Hospital in 1989, mortality from cardiopulmonary arrest was 71% in the general wards, and 64% in the Emergency department. In an attempt to identify and treat seriously ill patients before they progressed to cardiac arrest, a medical emergency team (MET) was established. The MET replaced the existing cardiac arrest team and comprised a nurse from the intensive care unit (ICU), a resuscitation registrar (an anaesthetics trainee), a medical registrar and a senior registrar from the ICU. The resuscitation registrar was the team leader. The calling criteria for the MET were based on predetermined physiological variables, abnormal laboratory results, and specific conditions or if nursing or medical staff were concerned by the patient's condition. A study was conducted 2 years following implementation of the MET system, to determine registered nurses' (RNs) opinions, knowledge and use of the system. A questionnaire distributed to 141 nurses rostered on the chosen study date revealed a positive attitude the MET, although there was a low awareness regarding the availability of the MET information booklet. 53% of nurses had called the MET in the last 3 months; all would call the team again in the same circumstances. The correct response in three of four hypothetical situations presented was to call the MET. The number of correct responses varied between scenarios from 17-73%. Hypotension did not appear to alert nurses to summon emergency assistance. Some nurses, despite the presence of severe deterioration and patient distress, called the resident rather than the MET.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Communication
  • Emergencies / nursing*
  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / nursing*
  • Heart Arrest / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires