Rapid response teams rely on nurses from the ICU to act as clinical experts at the bedside to assess a patient’s deteriorating condition. This article describes the challenges, solutions, and benefits discovered after implementation of a rapid response team in a small community hospital.

A current challenge facing hospital administrators is how to manage healthcare workers and available resources so as to achieve the best possible patient care and outcomes. Increasing acuity levels of patients, rapid admission and discharge cycles, and the national shortage of nurses make it difficult to provide high-quality care at the bedside.11 Failure to recognize changes in a patient’s condition until major complications, including death, have occurred is referred to as failure to rescue. That phrase is not intended to imply negligence or wrongdoing.22,55 Failure to rescue...

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