Code Blue Emergencies: A Team Task Analysis and Educational Initiative


  • James W. Price Vancouver General Hospital University of British Columbia
  • Oliver Applegarth
  • Mark Vu
  • John R. Price



Introduction: The objective of this study was to identify factors that have a positive or negative influence on resuscitation team performance during emergencies in the operating room (OR) and post-operative recovery unit (PAR) at a major Canadian teaching hospital. This information was then used to implement a team training program for code blue emergencies.

Methods: In 2009/10, all OR and PAR nurses and 19 anesthesiologists at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) were invited to complete an anonymous, 10 minute written questionnaire regarding their code blue experience. Survey questions were devised by 10 recovery room and operation room nurses as well as 5 anesthesiologists representing 4 different hospitals in British Columbia. Three iterations of the survey were reviewed by a pilot group of nurses and anesthesiologists and their feedback was integrated into the final version of the survey.

Results: Both nursing staff (n = 49) and anesthesiologists (n = 19) supported code blue training and believed that team training would improve patient outcome. Nurses noted that it was often difficult to identify the leader of the resuscitation team. Both nursing staff and anesthesiologists strongly agreed that too many people attending the code blue with no assigned role hindered team performance.

Conclusion: Identifiable leadership and clear communication of roles were identified as keys to resuscitation team functioning. Decreasing the number of people attending code blue emergencies with no specific role, increased access to mock code blue training, and debriefing after crises were all identified as areas requiring improvement. Initial team training exercises have been well received by staff.

Author Biography

James W. Price, Vancouver General Hospital University of British Columbia

Clinical Assistant Professor




How to Cite

Price JW, Applegarth O, Vu M, Price JR. Code Blue Emergencies: A Team Task Analysis and Educational Initiative. Can. Med. Ed. J [Internet]. 2012 Apr. 30 [cited 2022 Jul. 1];3(1):e4-e20. Available from:



Original Research