Piloting a Nurse-Led Critical Care Outreach Service to Pre-Empt Medical Emergency Team Calls and Facilitate Staff Learning

  • Author: Anja Geisler, Susanne Hedegaard and Tracey K. Bucknall.

  • Published:¬†International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2023


A nurse-led critical care outreach service (NLCCOS) can support staff education and decision making in the wards, managing at-risk patients with ward nurses to avoid further deterioration. We aimed to investigate the characteristics of patients identified as at-risk, the types of treatments they required to prevent deterioration, the education initiated by the NLCCOS, and the perceived experiences of ward nurses. This prospective observational pilot study using mixed methods took place in one medical and one surgical ward at a university hospital in Denmark. Participants were patients nominated as at-risk by head nurses in each ward, the ward nurses, and nurses from the NLCCOS. In total, 100 patients were reviewed, 51 medical and 49 surgical patients, over a six-month period. Most patients (70%) visited by the NLCCOS had a compromised respiratory status, and ward nurses received teaching and advice regarding interventions. Sixty-one surveys were collected from ward nurses on their learning experience. Over 90% (n = 55) of nurses believed they had learned from, and were more confident with, managing patients following the experience. The main educational areas were respiratory therapy, invasive procedures, medications, and benefits of mobilization. Further research needs to measure the impact of the intervention on patient outcomes and MET call frequency over time in larger samples.

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