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RRT-QC Nurses: Expert Clinical Collaborators and Quality Champions

06-26-2017

Rapid Response Team-Quality Champion nurses wear yellow jackets and blue pants to enhance their visibility to patients and families and to make them immediately recognizable to their colleagues.  Rapid Response-Quality Champion (RRT-QC) nurses are expert critical care nurses who serve all of Frederick Memorial Hospital in two distinct areas: responding to clinical emergencies and assuring compliance with quality measures.

Rapid Response Team-Quality Champion nurses wear yellow jackets and blue pants to enhance their visibility to patients and families and to make them immediately recognizable to their colleagues.

Available around the clock, every day of the year; RRT-QC nurses must be physically capable of responding to an RRT call within five minutes, as well as have:

  • A minimum of two years of critical care experience with at least six months at Frederick Memorial Hospital.
  • Current Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) certifications.
  • ICU/Critical Care competencies, mandatories, and any other ICU or hospital requirements.
  • Excellent clinical performance and communication skills.

Clinical Emergencies

Studies show that most cardiac arrests are preceded by abnormal clinical changes. Therefore, recognizing the warning signs of cardiac arrest in patients who are not hospitalized on the ICU is an important part of keeping our patients safe and on the road to recovery.

When a patient is showing signs of deterioration, our RRT-QC nurses bring critical care expertise to a patient’s bedside. They round on each shift with the charge nurses of the medical, surgical, and telemetry units to identify patients with subtle signs of clinical deterioration or who may need additional screening for sepsis. Our RRT-QC nurses also assess patients who have recently transferred from ICU, as well as all patients who have previously been treated by the Rapid Response Team. They serve as a clinical resource for beginning intravenous lines and other procedures, and respond to emergencies including:

  • Code Blue
  • Code Heart
  • Code Sepsis
  • Code Stroke

Having a dedicated RRT-QC team on call for early intervention has resulted in measurably better outcomes, higher quality of care, improved communication with families, and fewer unnecessary transfers to the ICU. Since the RRT-QC role was expanded, we have reduced the number of Code Blues outside of the ICU, as well as the rate of actual Rapid Response calls. This was accomplished by proactive identification and intervention for patients on inpatient floors demonstrating early warning signs of hemodynamic instability.

Quality Champion

In the role of Quality Champion, the RRT-QC nurse acts as a resource and primary auditor for restraint compliance, fall response, and other quality activities as instructed. In addition, they:

  • Coordinate a “huddle” meeting after all patient, visitor, or employee falls.
  • Visit with patients transferred out of the ICU to a general medical-surgical floor or telemetry within 12-24 hours.
  • Complete a checklist to ensure compliance with all measures on Code Sepsis calls.
  • Complete a MEWS assessment when rounding with charge nurses to identify patients experiencing subtle signs of clinical deterioration.

Physicians and staff at Frederick Memorial Hospital have found the role of the RRT-QC nurses to be invaluable in providing the best patient care possible. In addition to helping us further our ability to provide quality patient-and family-centered care, the creation of the RRT-QC nurse’s role offers our staff an additional resource. Nurses report a heightened sense of security knowing that in their day-to-day clinical roles and activities, additional support is just a rapid response call away.

This reinvented program has gained national recognition. Frederick Memorial Hospital’s ICU Manager and Clinical Nurse Specialist have presented the RRT-QC model at national conferences, including Premier Breakthroughs and Quest.

To read more about the quality care provided at Frederick Memorial Hospital's ICU, click here.



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