By Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor

For any given health care program, staff perceptions about how well it works will affect its use and maintenance. This is the case with regard to rapid response teams (RRTs). Nurse leaders’ perceptions of the benefits of RRT teams will influence their sup­port for these teams; and the perceptions of RRT members and end users similarly will influence use. Yet little is known regarding such perceptions.

Semistructured Interview GuideNurse researcher Deonni Stolldorf recently conducted a study to learn more. She reports on her findings in one of this month’s Original Research features, “The Benefits of Rapid Response Teams: Exploring Perceptions of Nurse Leaders, Team Members, and End Users.” Here’s a brief summary:

Objective: This study sought to explore and compare the perceptions of nurse leaders, RRT members, and RRT users regarding the benefits of RRTs.
Methods: A qualitative, multiple-case study design was used. Semistructured interviews were con­ducted with nurse leaders, RRT members, and RRT users at four community hospitals, as part of a larger mixed-methods study examining RRT sustainability.
Results: All participants reported perceiving various ways that RRTs benefit the organization, staff mem­bers, and patients. Variations in the benefits perceived were observed between the three participant groups. Nurse leaders’ perceptions tended to focus on macro-level benefits. RRT members emphasized the teaching and learning opportunities that RRTs offer. RRT users focused on the psychological support that RRTs can provide.
Conclusions: Both similarities and differences were found between nurse leaders, RRT members, and RRT users regarding their perceptions. Differences may be indicative of organizations’ information-sharing processes; of variation in the priorities of nurse leaders, RRT members, and RRT users; and of the challenges nurses face daily in their work environments.

Among the favorable comments were these:

  • as one RRT user succinctly put it, “We have less codes, less deaths … better patient outcomes, better satisfaction from the families knowing that somebody’s there.”
  • an RRT member likened an RRT call to “a live lab,” saying, “It’s not a simulation, it’s the real thing … it is a very rich learning environment.”

Stolldorf called for further research investigating “whether the per­ceived benefits of RRTs are borne out in actuality, as well as the relationships between the perceived benefits of RRTs and organizational and RRT characteristics.” For more, read the article, which is free online for the next two weeks.

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