top of page

The 'BLS burger' is the heart and bulk of in-hospital patient care

A Bun & Burger Story

Imagine a hamburger representing the structure of a hospital. This isn’t about comfort food but rather a perspective to understand the significance of BLS (Basic Life Support) and the multitude of specialties it impacts.

The Penthouse Perspective: The Top Bun (ICU)

The top bun, plush and often with sesame seeds, represents the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It's the critical care penthouse, overseeing acute patient needs and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and specialized personnel. Many Rapid Response Teams reside here. Cardiac arrest is a frequent event; they see plenty of it and have more opportunities to use the skills and technology required to effectively monitor and keep someone alive.

ICU teams have a distinct culture of calmness and knowing.

Immediate Action Grounds: The Bottom Bun (ER)

The bottom bun, providing foundation and stability, is the Emergency Room (ER). It's the rapid-response base, always prepared for incoming emergencies, ensuring patients are stabilized and given immediate care. Cardiac arrest and other cardiac emergencies are a daily reality in this department.

ER teams have a unique culture that thrives on chaos and unpredictability.

BLS: The Heart of the Hamburger

Nestled between these two critical zones is the BLS burger. All other specialties are within this burger, from cardiology to gastroenterology, from orthopedics, OR, OB, and neurology. This middle ground covers a significant percentage of the hospital's care continuum. The teams here have larger patient ratios, more ground to cover, and more patients to recognize, relay, and respond.

Many nurses work here their entire career; if they wanted to work in critical care… they would!

Why the 'Burger' Needs Continuous Support

Given the number of specialties existing within the 'BLS burger', the importance of hands-on practice and continuous decision support is crucial. The patients staying within the burger, though diverse, share a common thread: the need for acute, timely, and effective resuscitative care. This middle-ground, front-row team has its eyes on the prize, and while not always in the limelight like the ICU or ER, plays an equally vital role in patient care and outcomes.

They are the 'BLS Rapid Response Team’ and should receive the training that goes with that responsibly.

Culture & Expertise in Resuscitation Teams

Effective in-hospital code teams should be found throughout the hospital, not just in the critical care units and teams. Basic Life Support skill sets should not have borders. They embody a blend of culture, responsibility, and expertise, with an emphasis on the vital first moments of a cardiac event. The standard of care lies in mastering CPR and ensuring rapid defibrillation.

Cardiac arrest outside of the 'buns' is considered a low-frequency, high-risk event!

Toward a Juicier Future

The analogy underscores a fundamental reality: while the buns play an indispensable role, the burger – or the majority of in-hospital specialties relying on BLS – forms the meat of patient care. Translating this to a hospital setting, it's evident that continuous training, hands-on practice, and robust decision support are essential to ensure the 'BLS burger' is equipped to save more lives effectively.

So, what are we doing about it?

The Gold Standard in Cardiac Response

The universally accepted sequence during a cardiac arrest is straightforward yet pivotal: quick recognition of the emergency, calling for help, immediate initiation of CPR, and early defibrillation. This underlines the imperative for in-hospital first responders to be armed not just with the right tools, but also top-tier training to uphold this standard.

Revolutionizing Training with In-hospital Rescue Drills

Confidence in code management can be boosted through hands-on, brief repetitive practice. Drawing inspiration from prehospital best practices for these unit-based rescue drills should be the norm for ALL in-hospital teams. Why should the expectation of high-performance resuscitation stop at the ER doors?

The Heartbeat of the Burger: Empowering the Core Teams

While the ICU and ER (the buns) are indispensable, the size of the 'BLS burger' cannot be overstated. Within its confines are nurses and interprofessional teams that form the pulse of everyday patient care. For them to function optimally, recognition and empowerment are vital. They must be skilled to identify and respond to diverse patient needs.

Their continuous training and empowerment are not mere formalities but crucial for effective and timely interventions.

The Promise of CodePRep

Our communities, our patients, and their families place immense trust in healthcare professionals. Through the ongoing endeavors of Rescue RN and CodePRep, the vision is real: to give credit to BLS Rapid Response Teams that are not just prepared but empowered, ensuring in-hospital teams can confidently rescue patients whenever and WHEREVER the need arises.

Learn more at, join our community, and book a call with me!

Susan B, Davis DNP

Rescue RN


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page