Original Research: The Benefits of Rapid Response Teams

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Abstract

Background

The perceived benefits of rapid response teams (RRTs) influence whether RRTs are used and sustained. Perceived benefits are particularly important to sustaining RRTs when limited RRT data are shared with organizational members. Nurse leaders’ perceptions of the benefits of RRTs likely influence their support, which is crucial for sustained RRT use. The perceptions of RRT members and end users similarly will affect use. But little is known regarding the perceptions of nurse leaders, RRT members, and RRT users in this regard.

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. Purposive and snowball sampling were used. Recruitment strategies included e-mail and listserv announcements, on-site presentations, direct personal contact, and a study flyer.

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 of RRT benefits. 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. Future research should investigate 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.

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