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Resident and RN perceptions of the impact of a medical emergency team on education and patient safety in an academic medical center*

Sarani, Babak MD; Sonnad, Seema PhD; Bergey, Meredith R. MSc, MPH; Phillips, Joanne RN, MSN; Fitzpatrick, Mary Kate RN, MSN, CRNP; Chalian, Ara A. MD; Myers, Jennifer S. MD

doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181b09027
Clinical Investigations

Objective: To assess the perceptions of residents and RNs about the effects of a medical emergency team on patient safety and their own educational experiences.

Design: Survey-based study.

Setting: A single academic medical center.

Participants: In 2007, 1 yr after the introduction of a medical emergency team, a Web-based survey was administered to 141 internal medicine and general surgery residents and 497 RNs in a single academic medical center. Residents’ and RNs’ beliefs about the effects of the medical emergency team on patient safety and education were measured using 12 Likert scale items. Group differences were assessed using Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis test.

Results: The overall response rate was 79% (67% for residents and 83% for RNs). Residents and RNs agreed that the medical emergency team improved patient safety, but RNs held this belief more strongly than did residents. Residents neither agreed nor disagreed with the notion that the creation of the medical emergency team decreased their opportunities to obtain critical care skills or education, whereas RNs disagreed with this statement. Relative to surgical residents, medical residents were more involved in activation of the medical emergency team and believed more strongly that the team improved patient safety. Residents and RNs who perceived that they were involved in the call activation had more positive attitudes toward the team.

Conclusion: Residents and RNs believe that a medical emergency team improves patient safety in the hospital without compromising educational experiences or skills. Frequency of involvement in the events and the decision to activate the team correlated with more positive attitudes.

From Departments of Surgery (BS, SS, MRB), Nursing (JP, MKF), Otorhinolaryngology (AAC), and Medicine (JSM), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

The authors have not disclosed any potential conflicts of interest.

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© 2009 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins