A medical emergency team (MET) response requires an integrated and coordinated approach if optimal patient outcomes are to be achieved. Enhanced learning through simulation training has been used successfully to improve both technical and non-technical skills of clinical staff responding to medical emergency response scenarios.


The aim of this project was to evaluate the self-efficacy of inter-professional clinical staff who participated in a high fidelity simulation based MET response session.


A posttest only design was used to evaluate the impact of high fidelity MET response simulations on confidence levels. In 2018, clinical staff from three hospitals participated in MET crisis resource management (CRM) training using immersive simulation. Data analysis consisted of descriptive statistics and ordinal logistic regression modelling.


There were 326 participants, 58% (n=189) were medical officers and 42% (n=137) nurses. Self efficacy was rated using a five point Likert scale with regard to:

  • Managing a clinically deteriorating patient
  • Participants’ role in a MET response
  • Participants’ CRM knowledge
  • Participants’ technical skills
  • Applying non-technical skills such as leadership, communication etc in an emergency.

The MET CRM simulation outcomes showed significant associations with improvements observed in all five confidence measures. Findings showed that confidence levels for MET role response and CRM knowledge significantly improved amongst staff who reported lower levels of confidence prior to undertaking the MET CRM simulation (p-value < 0.001).


The findings from this study provide evidence that MET CRM simulation training greatly enhanced the self efficacy of clinical staff who participated in simulation training. In particular, strong positive effects were observed for participants’ self efficacy with regard to their MET role responsibilities and knowledge of crisis resource management principles.

Kylie Fawcett    Royal Perth Bentley Group, Perth WA Kylie.Fawcett@health.wa.gov.au

Phil Vlaskovsky  University of Western Australia Perth WA Philip.Vlaskovsky@uwa.edu.au

Jeanne Young Royal Perth Bentley Group Perth WA   Jeanne.Young@health.wa.gov.au

nurses working with patient

This project aimed to evaluate the safety, efficiency and cost of a two person independent IV medication administration procedure to the bedside compared to current single person IV medication administration. A secondary objective was to capture the frequency of interruptions during the IV medication process.

A randomised controlled design using direct observations at pre and posttest was undertaken to capture IV medication administration data on four clinical areas at a major public tertiary teaching hospital. Medication safety culture was also assessed along with the time taken to administer an IV medication and the frequency of interruptions during this process.

A total of 310 IV medications were observed being prepared and administered with a total of eight errors (3%) identified across both the intervention and controlled wards. Across both the intervention and controlled wards there were low numbers of IV medication errors observed which were further corroborated by low numbers of IV medication clinical incidents reported. Findings revealed that there was no conclusive evidence that using a two person IV administrative check to the bedside was any safer than using a single nurse administration.

Fifty four percent (n=167) of IV medication administrations were interrupted between 1 and five times, with a total of 305 interruptions observed. The top reasons for interruptions included; to discuss a patient (n=76; 26%) followed by a request from a patient or relative (n=46; 15.8%). Mean medication safety culture scores were positive indicating that staff regard medication safety as important. Timing of IV medication preparation and administration were collected with a mean time of 11 minutes required to prepare, check and administer IV medications in this sample of patients. To contextualised this finding, for every 100 IV medications administered the extra five minutes required to have a second nurse check the IV medication to the bedside equates to an additional 8 hours and 20 minutes of nursing time required.

The safety net of double checking IV medications remains questionable with definitive findings as to the benefits of this procedure not able to be verified by this project. The reinforcement of independent rather than collaborative medication checking is warranted to ensure that medication checks are completely impartial to outside influences. Finally, any interruption during medication preparation and administration should be viewed as detrimental to patient safety. As such staff and patients need to be made aware of the fact that interruptions can lead to medication errors.



The WA Nurses Memorial Charitable Trust has awarded $10,000 to the Comprehensive Care (CC) Project led by Dr Heather Kidd, Nursing Director Safety, Organisational Learning and Development at RPBG.

Comprehensive Care (CC) is a service innovation for the provision of continuous and collaborative care whereby patients, families and the health care team work in partnership to achieve the best possible health outcomes for the patient.

International studies of CC in the acute care setting found that CC:

  • improved patient satisfaction
  • improved shared decision making and goal setting
  • reduced length of stay
  • reduced hospital readmissions
  • reduced inpatient mortality
  • reduced hospital acquired complications (HACS).

Hospital Acquired Complications are identified as clinical complications that are significantly preventable and are a national priority area. Hospital Acquired Complications occur in 1 in 9 patients who attend Australian hospitals with the annual cost of  HAC in Australia is estimated at $4 Billion for public hospitals.


The CC Model Project aims to reduce not only HACs but mortality and readmissions by further integrating health care delivery across all professions. Specifically, this project aims to improve team work and communication, redesign workflow to reduce duplication and enhance patient involvement. The research project aims to commence in the new year and will continue till mid 2021.




RPH recognised that there were significant gaps in how the risk of patient aggression was communicated to staff, in particular those with limited or no access to patient documentation, electronic patient information systems or verbal handover.

The RPH Aggression Prevention and Intervention and Research portfolios undertook a study into systems that alert staff to the risk of patient aggression.  This study was supported by grants from the RPH ‘Foundation for Nursing Research’ and ‘Nursing Fellowship’.

One of the recommendations from the study was to introduce signage that would visually alert both clinical and non-clinical staff to the risk of aggression.

This has now been introduced, supported by a Standard Operating Procedure and Education

A recent survey has been undertaken to audit the visual alerts against the SOP and a further survey is planned to assess the effect of the alerts on the original identified staff groups.

In the interim, the feedback from staff has been very positive in enabling them to identify risk, ask for a verbal handover of the behaviour of concern and any triggers / relievers and precautions required.

Update! Alert Systems in use at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) for Patient Aggression, How they Affect Identified High Risk Staff Groups and Alert Systems in Similar Hospitals. 

RPH has a significant organisational and occupational safety and health risk relating to patient aggression.  It was recognised that there were significant gaps in how this risk was communicated to staff, in particular those with limited or no access to patient documentation, electronic patient information systems or verbal handover.

The RPH Aggression Prevention and Intervention and Research portfolios undertook a study into systems that alert staff to the risk of patient aggression.  This study was supported by grants from the RPH ‘Foundation for Nursing Research’ and ‘Nursing Fellowship’.  Key objectives were to identify alert systems in place within RPH, assess their effect on identified high risk staff groups, review current literature and explore alert systems used in similar hospitals.

The study demonstrated an unambiguous evidence base supporting aggression risk alert systems and the governance required to support these.   Recommendations were made to increase the opportunities to communicate/alert staff to the risk of patient aggression through clinical documentation, referral systems, electronic patient information systems and the use of visual risk alerts.  The key priority was to develop the governance around the use of alert systems prior to their introduction to ensure the aggression risk alert process was fair and lawful, objective, based on a specific incident(s) and risk assessment and that there was clearly defined criteria, authorisation and review process.  The governance process also needed to explore the issues around open disclosure, informing and when not to inform patients that they have an alert specific to aggression.

The recommendations from the study had the potential to alert every RPH staff group of potential risk, facilitating their ability to implement risk reduction measures, potentially preventing or reducing the consequence of patient initiated aggression.

Significant progress has been made in the two years following the report and recommendations.  Most notable is the introduction of signage designed to visually alert staff to the risk of patient aggression.  These alerts are yellow and black magnets on the patient journey board and yellow and black signs on the entrance to single patient rooms or above the patient’s bed space within shared rooms.  The governance around the use of the visual alerts is underpinned by a standard operation procedure which includes criteria for use, authorisation, review, open disclosure and safe systems of work and is supported by education.

A recent survey has been undertaken to audit the visual alerts against the SOP and a further survey is planned to assess the effect of the alerts on the original identified staff groups.  Anecdotally, feedback from clinical and non-clinical staff indicates that the visual alerts assist them in identifying risk and offers opportunity to seek a verbal handover as to the risk behaviours, triggers, relievers and required precautions.  One other notable improvement in regards to the visual alerts is that any patient with a visual alert must have a nurse escort during any inter hospital transfer, again improving the opportunity for verbal handover of risk.

In regards to clinical documentation, communicating the risk of aggression has improved with the review of the ED Triage form to include a section relating to behaviour in the ward handover section of the form.

In regards to electronic patient information systems, there have been some improvements with select ward staff gaining access to the Emergency Department (EDIS) and Mental Health (PSOLIS) risk alerts and ward staff having access to iSOFT handover on patients who are behavioural ‘patient of concern”.  A whole of WA Health electronic system is being progressed at a WA Health level following the Health Ministers Summit on Violence.  It is anticipated that this will also support the outpatient areas who continue to have very limited communication in regards to aggression.

Improving the hospital discharge process to minimize patient readmission: a partnership with consumers.

This proposal is based upon findings of pilot work for improving patient discharge processes undertaken in 2017 in the Acute Medical Unit1.

The 50 observed discharges recorded waiting times of 209 mins (median) due to delays in paperwork/prescriptions, availability of medical staff or competing service delivery demands. Of the 43 patients followed up at 1 week, 7 (16%) had been readmitted. Patients reported lack of clarity about their hospitalisation, expectations for self-care, and frustration with delays. Nurses reported being uncertain if patients understood discharge information/expectations, and that constant, competing demands led to rushed discharge conversations.

The aim of this research is to refine and trial innovative processes to prepare patients for discharge including a focused final conversation to ensure understanding and clarity for self-management at home.

This has been shown to improve self-management and decrease readmissions.
This will be achieved through –

• Enabling in-patients, with family, to formulate ‘questions for my team’ about current treatments and expectations upon discharge.

• Incorporating strategies such as ‘teach-back’ to gauge patients’ understanding of self-management requirements; simplify information exchange by creating ‘5 most important points’ to guide discussions

• Assessing new interventions using 50 observed patient discharges

• Following-up patients at 1 and 6 weeks to determine readmission/satisfaction/coping

• Using Focus groups/short surveys of health professionals and patients to determine impact/effectiveness of interventions

• Ensuring health literacy and patient centredness are central to methodology