First Advisor

Cullen, Patricia


Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice


Loretto Heights School of Nursing

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

85 pages


The study explored nurse perceptions of resuscitation of Spinal Cord injured (SCI) and Traumatic Brain injured patients (TBI) with nurses at a specialty rehabilitation hospital. Research shows that cardiac arrests that occur within hospitals but outside of critical care or emergency departments are challenges for first responders who are generally nurses (Ranse & Arbon, 2008; Morrison et al., 2013). SCI and TBI patients are at increased risk for cardiac arrest which can extend into the rehabilitation period (Casha & Christie, 2011). In settings where emergencies are not the norm, additional anxiety and stress are created for these first responders, especially when patient lengths of stay are long and the patients are well known. This capstone project examined nurse’s perceptions of resuscitation of TBI and SCI patients. An interpretive phenomenological design was used to interview a purposive sample of eight nurses who had experienced resuscitation of a TBI or SCI patient. The nurse researcher conducted 45-60 minute face to face interviews that were audio-recorded, transcribed and coded for themes using constant comparative analysis. Three broad themes with subthemes emerged from the interviews: Calling Code Blue, Code Blue Event and Debrief. Subthemes under Calling Code Blue were History and Presentation and Staff Reaction. Subthemes under Code Blue Event were Shifting Leadership, Shifting Roles and Challenges. Subthemes under Debrief were Immediate Needs, Solitary Reflection and Root Cause Analysis.

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado

Rights Statement

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