Codes happen very infrequently at Mariner’s Hospital, as it is a critical access hospital in the upper keys of Florida. Therefore, the bedside Registered Nurses (RN’s) may not have experienced enough codes to feel comfortable managing the code cart. The Intensive Care Unit’s practice council has identified the need to determine the proficiency in the use of the emergency crash cart supplies by all bedside RN’s at Mariner’s Hospital. Goals include an in-creased confidence of RN as well as an improved accuracy and speed of collecting supplies from code cart.

Code situations entail a high level of stress due the need for timeliness and accuracy of correct interventions to save a patient’s life. During highly stressful situations anxiety can cause second guessing or inaccurate selection of supplies and result in a less than optimal out-come. By design, crash carts facilitate reliability by reducing delays and errors (Barak, S., Pasadyn, J. & Weekley, L. 2015). Improving rapid access of supplies through interdisciplinary collaboration, communication, and training has resulted in enhanced patient safety. Education is essential to ensure staff readiness for a clinical emergency which contributes to the primary goal of improving patient outcomes. The inability to locate proper supplies in crash carts creates a challenge for staff in an emergency. Plan for implementation included creating a list of equipment contained in the code cart, conducting timed scavenger hunts of supplies within the cart, surveying RN’s perceptions of code cart use and familiarity. Finally, developing a visual aid to identify contents of crash cart drawers, placing in high traffic are-as for RN’s to view regularly with staff education about poster’s purpose and conduction of a follow up timed scavenger hunt and survey.

RN’s demonstrated becoming “Code Ready!” RN’s became more familiar with crash carts contents by utilizing the poster and participating in the hands-on experience of the scavenger hunt itself. After three months of poster implementation, scavenger results included a twenty-five percent decrease in time to locate supplies from within the crash cart. According to surveys, RN’s reported increased familiarity of crash cart contents, increased confidence in locating supplies from within the crash cart, and likeliness to manage the code cart during a real emergency by as much as thirty percent n some categories.

Publication Date


Presented At:

14th Annual BHSF Research Conference

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Open Access

Available to all.