The deteriorating patient: clinical decision making | Australian College of Nursing

Education: 1800 265 534
Enrol today

Membership: 1800 061 660
Join Now

The deteriorating patient: clinical decision making

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

This short course is designed for nurses seeking to review initiatives being implemented for the early recognition of the deteriorating patient. It will provide an overview of the importance of patient safety, as well as core skills in rapid assessment and early intervention to prevent deterioration. Skills-based workshops will allow participants to apply the knowledge gained. 

This short course is conducted over two days and is equivalent to 14 continuing professional development (CPD) hours. Please note that this program is subject to change.

Date and location

We are currently finalising our calendar of CPD short courses for the first half of 2017. If you would like to be informed when dates are announced, you can register for email notifications

If you would like to tell us which courses you would like to see in your area, please click here to complete a short survey.



RN member $327.00 RN non-member $385.00
EN member $269.00 EN non-member $327.00


Key learning outcomes

On completion participants will be better able to:

  • recognise risk factors for deterioration
  • take a systematic approach to patient assessment
  • communicate effectively with the interdisciplinary team
  • undertake critical analysis to enable clinical decisions and planning of patient care
  • anticipate changes in patient condition and intervene appropriately.


Day 1




Welcome and introductions


Introduction to the deteriorating patient

  • national evidence
  • recommendation and strategic approach
  • guiding principles
  • what patients are at risk?
  • not just 'ABC'


Risk factors contributing to deterioration

  • ineffective communication
  • ineffective teams, role and responsibilities
  • transferring patients at risk
  • workloads
  • lack of equipment
  • noncompliance with policy
  • lack of education/advanced life support
  • rural health facilities issues/access


Morning tea


Observation, documentation and measurement

  • factors that contribute to effective observation
  • physiological observations
    • what is normal?
    • early warning signs
    • late warning signs
  • early warning score systems
  • overview of observation charts
  • documentation following activation of a rapid response




Escalation protocols and rapid response systems

  • organisational responses
    • what systems are available?
  • what is an escalation protocol?
  • using the rapid response system
    • access
    • timeframes
    • appropriate care and support
  • how the care of the deteriorating patient can be escalated
  • technology-based solutions


Afternoon tea


Communication to get assistance

  • how to communicate effectively
  • tools for communicating effectively
    • SBAR
  • importance of structured handovers
  • communicating to the patient and family
    • wishes of the patient
    • end-of-life care planning
  • communicating assessment
  • communication case studies and scenarios
4.30pmQuestions, overview and end of day one


Day 2

Early recognition of the deteriorating and unstable patient and clinical decision-making workshop


How to address and appropriately manage the deteriorating patient through case presentations

  • respiratory crises
  • cardiac crises
  • neurological crises
  • sepsis
  • outcomes

Clinical tenets

Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea breaks are included in this session


Evaluation and finish