Communication and Relationship Skills for Rapid Response Teams at Hamilton Health Sciences Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Rapid response teams (RRT) are an important safety strategy in the prevention of deaths in patients who are progressively failing outside of the intensive care unit. The goal is to intervene before a critical event occurs. Effective teamwork and communication skills are frequently cited as critical success factors in the implementation of these teams. However, there is very little literature that clearly provides an education strategy for the development of these skills. Training in simulation labs offers an opportunity to assess and build on current team skills; however, this approach does not address how to meet the gaps in team communication and relationship skill management. At Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) a two-day program was developed in collaboration with the RRT Team Leads, Organizational Effectiveness and Patient Safety Leaders. Participants reflected on their conflict management styles and considered how their personality traits may contribute to team function. Communication and relationship theories were reviewed and applied in simulated sessions in the relative safety of off-site team sessions. The overwhelming positive response to this training has been demonstrated in the incredible success of these teams from the perspective of the satisfaction surveys of the care units that call the team, and in the multi-phased team evaluation of their application to practice. These sessions offer a useful approach to the development of the soft skills required for successful RRT implementation.


  • Cziraki, Karen
  • Lucas, Janie
  • Rogers, Toni
  • Page, Laura
  • Zimmerman, Rosanne
  • Hauer, Lois
  • Daniels, Charlotte
  • Gregoroff, Susan

publication date

  • March 15, 2008