In-hospital resuscitation: recognising and responding to adults in cardiac arrest
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In-hospital resuscitation: recognising and responding to adults in cardiac arrest

Elizabeth Simpson Nurse lecturer and Interprofessional Simulation Centre coordinator, Nursing and Community Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland

Survival rates following in-hospital cardiac arrest remain low. The majority of patients who survive a cardiac arrest will be in a monitored environment, have a witnessed cardiac arrest and present with a shockable rhythm, usually ventricular fibrillation. Nurses have a responsibility to preserve safety, which requires the ability to accurately assess patients for signs of deterioration in physical health, and to provide assistance when an emergency arises in practice. Nurses must work within the limits of their competence and be able to establish the urgency of a situation. Nurses in all areas of practice must be able to recognise the signs of cardiac arrest and know the prompt response sequence required to improve the patient's chances of survival. This article focuses on inpatient resuscitation in acute healthcare environments and is aimed at staff who may be the first to respond to an in-hospital cardiac arrest. This does not include specialist units such as neurosurgery, intensive therapy units and cardiac catheterisation laboratories, where medical experts are available and clinical priorities may differ.

Nursing Standard. 30, 51, 50-63. doi: 10.7748/ns.2016.e10483


Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 11 March 2016

Accepted: 13 May 2016