Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Health Services


Andrea Jennings-Sanders


Psychiatric illnesses can sometimes lead to behavioral outbursts that need to be addressed quickly to deescalate potentially explosive situations. Nurses are in a unique position to respond to such outbursts by calling for a rapid response team. Nurses who are part of the rapid response team should be well-informed of their roles and responsibilities in managing aggressive and violent behavior. The purpose of this project was to explore RN's and LPN's knowledge and perceptions of a rapid response team in a psychiatric facility. The Iowa model of evidence-based practice provided the framework to integrate theory into practice to improve care. A quantitative descriptive design was implemented with a convenience sample of nurses using a 4-part questionnaire. Of the 64 surveys distributed on 5 wards, 59 were completed for a response rate of 92%. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze nurse responses to demographic data and background data. A Chi-square statistic was calculated to investigate the relationship between RN and LPN responses to the Likert Agreement Scale; no significant difference in responses was found. Open-ended questions allowed nurses to comment on their role and position during a code. The comments were sorted into categories of reoccurring themes. Results suggested that nurses need to understand signs of behavioral escalation and strategies to deescalate a potentially volatile patient. Nurses commented that knowledge during a code, reasons for calling a code, and good communication skills are essential in code situations. Findings from this project can benefit nurses who work psychiatric emergencies by underscoring the need to development of psychiatric rapid response teams and to update current standards of inpatient care.