Early warning scoring systems are tools for nurses to help monitor their patients and improve how quickly a patient experiencing a sudden decline receives clinical care. Nurse leaders and frontline staff at a major academic medical center implemented a new early warning system that gives clear guidelines to nurses, nursing assistants, and other clinicians about vital-sign parameters and changes in patients’ mental status.
At a Glance
- The early warning scoring system has been implemented on two inpatient units and in an outpatient infusion clinic.
- Nurses and patient care technicians carry color-coded cards that remind them who to notify and how frequently to reassess after a patient is found to have abnormal vital signs.
- Nurses and other staff members reported that they perceive improved interprofessional communication and greater confidence in their ability to recognize subtle signs that a patient may be at risk for rapid deterioration.