The Rapid Response Team’s goal is to help everybody – nurses, patients, and their families – find peace of mind and to ensure that all patients at Boone Hospital Center receive the best patient care.
Amber McLelland with Patient Transport leads the Rapid Response team and patient
and expertise of the Rapid Response Team, at any time, any day. When a nurse calls the Rapid Response Team, or RRT, the House Supervisor and Charge Respiratory Therapist are called. They work directly with the nurse who called them and the unit’s Charge Nurse to assess a patient’s situation. “When’s there a change in a patient’s vital signs, we try to find out why,” Nick says. “Once we arrive, I determine if we need to get the Hospitalist involved, and if so, I page them. The Hospitalist will quickly respond to the scene.” The RRT also contacts the patient’s physician. If the patient needs it, the RRT can contact and involve more health care professionals to get labs drawn, to do imaging studies, or to move a patient to higher level of care, coordinating with the Charge Nurse on the destination unit. Calling the RRT to examine a patient can prevent a later ICU transfer or Code Blue call for emergency resuscitation, meaning a shorter stay and better outcomes for patients. “Rapid responses have been quite effective, helping us identify STEMIs, strokes, sepsis, and other rapid declination of patients, helping us keep them alive and get back home,” Nick says.
In addition to supporting nurses when they need assistance to assess a patient’s condition, the Rapid Response Team’s role is to educate nurses at the bedside. Even if a patient turns out to be stable, it’s always a good thing that the nurse called the RRT. Leslie Duckworth, a nurse and Boone Hospital’s Manager of Clinical Quality, Patient Safety and Infection Prevention, agrees, “It’s much safer to have occasional RRT calls for patients who are ultimately identified as stable than to have someone hesitate to call an RRT that might be life-saving.” Leslie says a supportive attitude is necessary for a successful RRT program, and nurses should never worry that a call to the RRT is unnecessary. Leslie supports the patient care staff, telling them, “If you are ever in doubt, sweat the small stuff, and call the Rapid Response Team!” “When I first started, nurses would be afraid to call for the RRT,” Nick says. “Every time a nurse calls us, I tell them they did a good job, and now they’re going to do a better job because they’ve learned something. “If I can do anything to increase a nurse’s confidence, that’s a big thing. I love the philosophy that draws certain kinds of people to come work here – good people, people who care. If you’re good enough to be a Boone Hospital nurse, we want you to feel supported.” Nick says the Rapid Response Team’s ultimate goal is to help everybody – nurses, patients, and their families – find peace of mind and to ensure that all patients at Boone Hospital Center receive the best patient care. By Jessica Park