Introduction & Aim: It has been widely accepted that non-technical or ‘human’ factors play a key role in safety-related outcomes in high-risk industries, for example commercial aviation. Lessons learnt by this industry have been adopted into healthcare in order to improve patient safety and emergency outcomes. There has been a concerted effort to acknowledge and act on the requirement for quality-assured processes and systems to improve leadership, teamwork and communication amongst healthcare professionals e.g. Medical-Emergency Teams, within which there is a skill and grade-mix, with pre-allocated roles for each team member, and protected time for briefing at the start of each shift. Given the significance of every minute’s delay during emergencies, it seems that one key staff group has been overlooked in the application of human factors-based training and procedures in acute/general medical and surgical settings. Nurses are, in the majority of cases, the first healthcare professionals to reach deteriorating patients and it is their job to recognise and escalate this as well as initiate emergency care; however there are no established non-technical processes to ensure good teamwork and communication in the nurse-led phase of emergencies. This project aimed to establish nursing perceptions of non-technical factors during emergencies prior to MET/CA-team arrival and to trial the implementation of a briefing and role allocation system for nurses in order to improve non-technical factors during emergencies.
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