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top takeaways from this conversation

  • Master the basics. When looking to improve cardiac arrest response, focus on the basics — like CPR and crash cart organization — first.
  • Teamwork in resuscitation is essential. Whether you’re reorganizing crash carts, simplifying protocols, or performing bedside resuscitation, change only happens as a team.

Code Blue events bring a new meaning to the concept of “a team effort.” When a code is called, a patient’s life is — quite literally — in the hands of the clinicians who respond. And to make matters more complex, code teams are often composed of clinicians from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines who may not routinely work together — except to collaborate on infrequent, unplanned, and high-stakes emergency events.

That’s the inspiration behind our Resuscitation Perspectives series, where we interview different members of Code Blue teams to better understand their role and impact in resuscitation response. And while our interviewees preferred to remain anonymous for privacy, we know their insights will resonate and inform readers across all Code Blue roles — from nurses and physicians to patients and families.

Role spotlight: Resuscitation consultant

So far in the Resuscitation Perspectives series, we’ve heard primarily from members of the bedside resuscitation team and the internal departments that support them, like materials management. Our latest installment of the series offers a different perspective — that of an external consultant. In his role in resuscitation consultation and sales, our interviewee spends the bulk of his time advising on resuscitation best practices, spotting areas to improve, and advocating for simplicity and a “back to basics” mentality to improve care.

Keep reading to learn why he’s a firm believer in mastering the basics, and how teamwork in resuscitation helps to move the needle on improving care.

Current role

What is your current role, and how are you involved with resuscitation/emergency response?


I am currently a resuscitation consultant. I sell into the resuscitation market: high-quality training devices and things of that nature. But 80% of my time is consultive related to current trends, research, and best practices in the area of cardiac resuscitation and sudden cardiac arrest.

How do the unique responsibilities of your role impact your perspective on emergency response?


There are so many things that are upside down about resuscitation. We carry out various processes with the intent of efficiency, patient safety, and positive outcomes. But the things that we do along the way don’t always support those goals.

Here’s an example, and I know I’m going to date myself here. We used to transport patients from the emergency department to specialty care units or the ICU using these enormous Hewlett Packard defibrillators that you’d place between the patient’s legs. You’d squeeze their legs to the sides of the stretcher and put this giant, hulking mass between their legs. Meanwhile, there would be a LIFEPAK sitting on a crash cart upstairs. Why was the LIFEPAK on a crash cart and this huge Hewlett Packard defibrillator used as a transport unit? It made absolutely no sense.

Nobody gets out of bed in the morning with malintent, but things like this happen all day long. And they happen over and over again. I’m not really certain the reasons why — I think it’s fairly complex. So, I try to work with the smartest people in this field to see these opportunities, create change, and improve outcomes from these events.

“If you’re not capable of reasonable-quality CPR, then don’t focus on a more invasive and complex procedure. Simplify and get the basics right.”

Impact on emergency response

What is the most important change that you have driven, or been a part of, that improved resuscitation response?


Simplification: Do fewer things well. I try to simplify processes that have become overwhelmingly detailed and increase the risk of error. The things that you really need to do well, like crash carts, turn into drawers full of distractions. Then you start looking at advanced-level therapies, like targeted temperature management and things of that nature. And I think there’s definitely a place for that. But if you’re not capable of reasonable-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — I’m not even talking high quality — then don’t focus on a more invasive and complex procedure. Simplify and get the basics right.

I have worked with many companies, hospitals, and Emergency Medical Services systems to simplify their practices, with a focus on strong CPR responses and simplified equipment to support those practices. We need to master the basics.

Do you see your role as having an impact on improving patients’ survival?


Absolutely, without question. I’m definitely making a difference. But the only reason I have any impact at all is because I surround myself with people that have the same passion for resuscitation. Everything in resuscitation is team based. Whether you’re lobbying for change; reorganizing technology, crash carts, or protocols; or performing resuscitation at bedside — it’s all happening as a team. It’s not until you gain the respect of other similarly minded people that you can make any advancements. Alone you are nothing — or at least not effective!

“Everything in resuscitation is team based. Whether you’re lobbying for change; reorganizing technology, crash carts, or protocols; or performing resuscitation at bedside — it’s all happening as a team.”

Reflecting on the past — and looking to the future — of resuscitation response

What is some advice you would give your younger self that you didn’t know then, but know now?


If I hadn’t been so distracted by the excitement of emergency medicine, I probably would have continued with my education and become a nurse. I wish somebody had warned me about the infectious nature of emergency medicine! So that’s the first part. The second part would have been to tell my younger self about the politics of medicine.

How do you see resuscitation response changing in the future?


I think if you read the tea leaves around the guidelines, there’s been a lot of reaffirmation about doing the simple things and doing them well. It’s like building a home: You build a strong foundation first. You don’t build it in the sand and put a billion-dollar roof on the thing. You invest in the foundation because everything is built on that. And if that foundation is weak, why are we bothering?

In the pre-hospital arena in particular, there’s this idea that we can buy our way out of our problems with more equipment, more sophistication, etc. But the future is going to be focused on simplicity and the basics.


We’re here to help

See how Nuvara® can simplify resuscitation response at your hospital.