Patterns of behaviour in nursing staff actioning the afferent limb of the rapid response system (RRS): A focused ethnography

Smith, Duncan and Cartwright, Martin and Dyson, Judith and Hartin, Hillian and Aitken, Leanne M. (2020) Patterns of behaviour in nursing staff actioning the afferent limb of the rapid response system (RRS): A focused ethnography. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 76 (12). pp. 3548-3562. ISSN 0309-2402

Smith, Cartwright, Dyson, Hartin, Aitken, Patterns of behaviour in nursing staff actioning the afferent limb of the rapid response system.pdf - Published Version
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Aim: To improve understanding of afferent limb behaviour in acute hospital ward settings, to define and specify who needs to do what differently and to report what afferent limb behaviours should be targeted in a subsequent multi-phase, theory-based, intervention development process.
Design: Focused ethnography was used including direct observation of nursing staff enacting afferent limb behaviours and review of vital signs charts.
Methods: An observation guide focused observation on “key moments” of the afferent limb. Descriptions of observations from between 7 January 2019–18 December 2019 were recorded in a field journal alongside reflexive notes. Vital signs and early warning scores from charts were reviewed and recorded. Field notes were analysed using structured content analysis. Observed behaviour was compared with expected
(policy-specified) behaviour. Results: Observation was conducted for 300 hr. Four hundred and ninety-nine items of data (e.g., an episode of observation or a set of vital signs) were collected. Two hundred and eighty-nine (58%) items of data were associated with expected (i.e. policy-specified) afferent limb behaviour; 210 (42%) items of data were associated with unexpected afferent limb behaviour (i.e. alternative behaviour or no behaviour). Ten specific behaviours were identified where the behaviour observed deviated (negatively) from policy or where no action was taken when it should have been. One further behaviour was seen to expedite the assessment of a deteriorating patient by
an appropriate responder and was therefore considered a positive deviance. Conclusion: Afferent limb failure has been described as a problem of inconsistent staff behaviour. Eleven potential target behaviours for change are reported and specified using a published framework.
Impact: Clear specification of target behaviour will allow further enquiry into the determinants of these behaviours and the development of a theory-based intervention that is more likely to result in behaviour change and can be tested empirically in future research.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
1 June 2020Accepted
30 September 2020Published Online
Subjects: CAH02 - subjects allied to medicine > CAH02-04 - nursing and midwifery > CAH02-04-01 - nursing (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Social Care, Health and Related Research (C-SHARR)
Depositing User: Judith Dyson
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2021 13:44
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 17:15

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