Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Dorothy Brooten

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

JoAnne Youngblut

Third Advisor's Name

Jeffrey Groom

Fourth Advisor's Name

Maty Jo Trepka


Sudden cardiac arrest, CPR, medical errors, smocks, codes, simulation, color coding

Date of Defense



Rates of survival of victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) using cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) have shown little improvement over the past three decades. Since registered nurses (RNs) comprise the largest group of healthcare providers in U.S. hospitals, it is essential that they are competent in performing the four primary measures (compression, ventilation, medication administration, and defibrillation) of CPR in order to improve survival rates of SCA patients. The purpose of this experimental study was to test a color-coded SMOCK system on:1) time to implement emergency patient care measures 2) technical skills performance 3) number of medical errors, and 4) team performance during simulated CPR exercises. The study sample was 260 RNs (M 40 years, SD=11.6) with work experience as an RN (M 7.25 years, SD=9.42).Nurses were allocated to a control or intervention arm consisting of 20 groups of 5-8 RNs per arm for a total of 130 RNs in each arm. Nurses in each study arm were given clinical scenarios requiring emergency CPR. Nurses in the intervention group wore different color labeled aprons (smocks) indicating their role assignment (medications, ventilation, compression, defibrillation, etc) on the code team during CPR. Findings indicated that the intervention using color-labeled smocks for pre-assigned roles had a significant effect on the time nurses started compressions (t=3.03, p=0.005), ventilations (t=2.86, p=0.004) and defibrillations (t=2.00, p=.05) when compared to the controls using the standard of care. In performing technical skills, nurses in the intervention groups performed compressions and ventilations significantly better than those in the control groups. The control groups made significantly (t=-2.61, p=0.013) more total errors (7.55 SD 1.54) than the intervention group (5.60, SD 1.90). There were no significant differences in team performance measures between the groups. Study findings indicate use of colored labeled smocks during CPR emergencies resulted in: shorter times to start emergency CPR; reduced errors; more technical skills completed successfully; and no differences in team performance.





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