University Of Tasmania

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Rapid response systems and collective (in)competence: An exploratory analysis of intraprofessional and interprofessional activation factors

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 16:34 authored by Kitto, S, Marshall, SD, McMillan, SE, Shearer, B, Michael Buist, Grant, R, Finnigan, M, Wilson, S
The rapid response system (RRS) is a patient safety initiative instituted to enable healthcare professionals to promptly access help when a patient's status deteriorates. Despite patients meeting the criteria, up to one-third of the RRS cases that should be activated are not called, constituting a "missed RRS call". Using a case study approach, 10 focus groups of senior and junior nurses and physicians across four hospitals in Australia were conducted to gain greater insight into the social, professional and cultural factors that mediate the usage of the RRS. Participants' experiences with the RRS were explored from an interprofessional and collective competence perspective. Health professionals' reasons for not activating the RRS included: distinct intraprofessional clinical decision-making pathways; a highly hierarchical pathway in nursing, and a more autonomous pathway in medicine; and interprofessional communication barriers between nursing and medicine when deciding to make and actually making a RRS call. Participants also characterized the RRS as a work-around tool that is utilized when health professionals encounter problematic interprofessional communication. The results can be conceptualized as a form of collective incompetence that have important implications for the design and implementation of interprofessional patient safety initiatives, such as the RRS.


Publication title

Journal of Interprofessional Care










College Office - College of Health and Medicine


Taylor & Francis

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2015 Informa UK Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Evaluation of health outcomes