Nurses' attitudes to a medical emergency team service in a teaching hospital.
Medical emergency teams (METs, also known as rapid response teams) are being widely implemented in U.S. hospitals. Although their effectiveness in preventing adverse patient outcomes is uncertain, a major proposed benefit of such teams is to provide support for nursing staff. This study, conducted at an Australian hospital with a long-standing MET, surveyed ward nurses to determine if they understood the appropriate reasons to call the MET and evaluate if they felt the MET improved patient safety. Nearly all nurses felt the team helped provide more effective care for patients and helped educate nurses in caring for acutely ill patients. Nurses did not feel that they would be criticized for calling the MET. Despite the presence of objective criteria (eg, vital sign abnormalities) for calling the MET, most nurses preferred to use their clinical judgment to decide when to summon the team.