Rapid identification and timely management of sepsis improve survival. Therefore, a bundled approach to care is recommended.

Local Problem

In an acute care area of the study institution, a 2016 internal evaluation of 27 patients with sepsis showed a median time to first-dose antibiotic administration of 269 minutes, with no patients receiving antibiotics within the 60-minute target time. Additionally, only one-third of patients received appropriate fluid resuscitation (30-mL/kg bolus of intravenous crystalloids). Given poor bundle compliance, a nurse-driven rapid response team protocol for suspected sepsis was implemented. The purpose of this project was to assess the protocol’s impact on the timeliness of treatment for sepsis.


This retrospective quality improvement evaluation involved patients aged 18 years or older for whom the suspected sepsis protocol was initiated during their acute care area admission. The evaluation focused on improvements in time to intravenous antibiotic administration and volume of fluid resuscitation compared with before protocol implementation. The protocol empowers the rapid response team to initiate sepsis management and includes pertinent laboratory tests, blood cultures, intravenous broad-spectrum antibiotic administration, and a crystalloid bolus (30 mL/kg) if indicated.


A total of 32 patients were evaluated. Time to first-dose antibiotic administration was reduced by half (from 269 to 135 minutes). Eighteen patients met criteria for fluid resuscitation, with twice as many receiving appropriate fluid volumes compared with before protocol implementation.


Implementation of the suspected sepsis protocol demonstrates the substantial role nurses have in optimizing patient care, especially in the timely treatment of sepsis.

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