Purpose of the study: Rapid response teams (RRTs) have been implemented as an in-hospital cardiac arrest prevention strategy. We investigated RRT nurses’ attitudes to their work and the concept of the rapid response system.
Materials and methods: We conducted a multicentre survey including all Finnish tertiary hospitals’ RRT nurses. We used a 5-point Likert-type agreement scale in our anonymous questionnaire.
Results: The response rate was 46% (range 34-93% between the hospitals). The respondents’ had median three years’ experience on RRT duties. Over 90% of the respondents felt that RRT both prevents cardiac arrests and improves patient safety. Seventy-eight percent considered that their critical care skills had improved through the RRT duties; this response was more common among the nurses with five or more RRT activations per month (94% vs. 71%, p=0.002). Similarly, nurses with five or more RRT activations per month considered their work meaningful (94% vs. 76%, p=0.017) and wanted to continue as RRT nurses (91% vs. 74%, p=0.022) more often as compared with those nurses with four or less RRT activations per month. The respondents considered that ward nurses are able to detect patient deterioration (75%), but half (49%) answered that ward doctors are not capable to treat deteriorating patients. Two thirds (67%) felt that their workload was greater as compared with their non-RRT associated colleagues.
Conclusions: RRT nurses feel their work important with improved critical care skills; these experiences are highlighted among the RRT nurses with more frequent RRT participation. The increased workload issues should be addressed.