RESUSCITATION OFFICER. Monica Minardi, MD - Editorial Board MedEmIt - Accident and Emergency Department UK

I have been asked my one of my Accident and Emergency colleagues to write an article explaining the role of the Resuscitation Officer within an acute NHS Trust within England.  The following provides such information.
The role of the Resuscitation Officer is one that covers both clinical and non clinical and it is performed by non medical staff, i.e.) not qualified doctors, however all Resuscitation Officers are professionally qualified in healthcare. Resuscitation Officers are commonly Senior nurses, Sisters/Charge Nurses, Paramedics or Operating Department Practitioners, all generally with experience and an interest in critical care and resuscitation issues. All Resuscitation Officer should have a teaching qualification in advanced resuscitation techniques.
Currently British NHS hospital Trusts have a resuscitation committee which is made up of Medical Staff, Senior Nursing staff and Resuscitation Officers, one of the responsibilities of the committee is to produce hospital policy in respect to resuscitation issues.
The role of the Resuscitation Officer has several elements, these are documented below.
  • Training -  at least half the working week would be scheduled to provide training.   All staff groups are trained in basic resuscitation techniques and advanced resuscitation techniques are taught to relevant staff groups including Doctors and senior Nurses. Paediatric basic life support is also taught to those staff who are involved in the care of children. Immediate Life Support courses are also offered, this course is aimed at junior doctors and nursing staff.  This course looks particularly at systematic assessment and treatment of critically ill patients and the resuscitation of those patients should they suffer a cardiac arrest. The ALERT course, which again looks at the assessment and treatment of the critically ill patient is also part of the remit to teach on.  Most Trusts will run a number of advanced courses per year and again Resuscitation Officer would organise and manage these courses ensuring that the correct equipment is available and is in working order. Resuscitation Officers would also teach on the course and form part of the faculty.
  • Resuscitation Officers would also be responsible for disseminating information relating to changes in guidelines/procedures to relevant staff, and provide training in required.
  • Resuscitation equipment – decisions made in respect of the type of equipment to be purchased taking into account  both practical issues along with the financial perspective.  Practical issues would include ensuring the equipment meets current guidelines, has longevity and is able to be reprogrammed/upgraded if needed.   The Resuscitation Team would also be responsible for introducing any new piece of equipment and ensuring that relevant staff are provided with training.
  • Clinical work – this involves responding to the emergency bleep. Emergencies may include, trauma calls, cardiac arrests and medical situations. During these emergencies the Resuscitation Officers will either act as one of the team members, which may involve gaining intravenous or intraosseous access, defibrillation, managing the airway etc, or they may act as team leader, for example during a cardiac arrest which would involve managing the event with medical colleagues.  These situations may also provide opportunities to teach or to support junior staff in being team members or indeed those who are running cardiac arrests for the first time.
  • Auditing – would include audits covering equipment, staff performance and patient outcome.
Bill Pasquier
Resuscitation Officer
Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation NHS Trust
United Kingdom