Nurses experiences of resuscitation. A literature review

Ms Katherine Riley1

1University Of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia


Nurses play key roles in the management of in-hospital cardiac arrest. Often they are first on the scene of an arrest initiating CPR as well as activating resuscitation support. Nurses roles have historically extended into resuscitation team models, include cardiac arrest teams, medical emergency teams, rapid response teams and trauma activation teams; these teams all operate under similar principles of early recognition and rapid response and correction of vital signs.

In recent years, research has begun to acknowledge the nurses role in providing leadership and improved communication during resuscitations within metropolitan and trauma based settings. Nurse-led rapid response team models have also begun to emerge internationally demonstrating improved patient outcomes. It is evident that nurses significantly contribute to resuscitations in variety of settings, however what is not understood is how they experience these resuscitative practices.


The aim of the integrative review was to critically appraise the literature and capture the evidence relevant to the experiences of nurses who participate in resuscitations, to obtain a clearer understanding of the reported experiences of nurses during and following resuscitation


After a thematic analysis of the included articles the themes highlighted were Chaos, ethical dilemmas, debriefing and clinical competency.  The four themes identified from the literature review all validated that nurses during resuscitations are exposed to a broad range of stress provoking encounters that challenge their ability to provide safe and competent life saving care.


Nurses that participate in resuscitations are at the forefront of these occupational stressors, therefore increased awareness and attention of this phenomenon is vital to improve resuscitation processes and the psychological wellbeing of nurses working in these environments.


Katherine has been a registered nurse for 22 years working in Intensive Care Units and Emergency departments across Australia. In recent years she has replaced her clinical scrubs for academia working as a lecturer at University of Wollongong. Katherine is currently undertaking a PhD titled ‘Uncovering the resuscitative practices and experiences of rural nurses in Australia’. Her presentation today explores her PhD’s literature review findings.