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Coloured badges stipulate nurses’ role when child arrests


A system of colour-coded badges has been introduced at a specialist hospital in London to help nurses identify their role in an emergency, helping to boost staff confidence.

Nurses working on the children’s ward and paediatric intensive care unit at Royal Brompton Hospital have been allocated badges stating what their role would be if a patient in their care had a cardiorespiratory arrest.

”This new strategy improves patient care and makes staff feel even more confident”

Helen MacGloin

Given to nurses before the start of each shift, the badges indicate who has specific roles, including airway nurse, circulation, nurse runner and scribe.

The initiative, which came into effect in September last year, was based on evidence that allocating roles before a cardiorespiratory arrest occurs improved management and outcomes, said Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust in information provided to Nursing Times.

Before being used on the wards, the pre-planned role allocation was practised during courses held by the hospital’s SPRinT team (Simulated interPRofessional Team training), who use in-situ simulation to prepare teams for real clinical situations.

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust

Coloured badges stipulate nurses’ role when child arrests

The project received an award at the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare conference in November.

Since the event, clinical teams across the country have contacted the team to learn how to achieve effective role allocation and anticipatory planning in their own hospitals, the trust said.

Dr Helen MacGloin, PICU/SPRinT research fellow at the hospital, developed the initiative alongside clinical educator Nicolene Stander.

She said: “This new strategy improves patient care and makes staff feel even more confident when they are looking after a child who is having a cardiorespiratory arrest.

“We are pleased at how successfully the initiative has been translated from simulation into real life on the wards, so that emergency care for young patients is more effective,” she added.

Colour codes:

  • Circulation – red
  • Airway nurse – blue
  • Medication – green
  • Nurse runner – pink
  • HCA runner – orange
  • Scribe – yellow



Readers' comments (3)

  • michael stone

    I feel pretty sure that is true [and apparently there is an evidence-base], PROVIDED the entire of set of badged nurses is available when an arrest occurs - but does that assumption invariably hold ?

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  • I don't disagree if this method is effective but team work is essential and excellent communication. If you have permanent staff at the helm badges would not necessarily have to happen but I guess there may be a lot of agency ?. I would expect an ongoing rapport what ever happens

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  • Another badge needed. Take over job to free up other nurse!

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