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Resuscitation trolley checking: Making it a priority

28 August 2019 - Crystal Smith

Resuscitation trolley checking: Making it a priority

Who checks the resuscitation or emergency trolley in your workplace? It’s easy to find guidelines about what items to include on the trolley, depending on your clinical environment. What’s not as easy is how to ensure that staff prioritise completing the checks, especially when you consider the ever-expanding lists of tasks that must be performed. Managers and educators often report that checks are not attended daily, and staff can feel singled out if they are always tasked with the resuscitation trolley checks.


Some tips to encourage resuscitation trolley checking:

  • Check the trolley with new staff and students. By taking the time to orient them with the equipment, you can impart procedural and organisational knowledge that takes time to build otherwise.
  • Rotate the staff who attend the checks. It reduces the workload on specific individuals, and helps all staff know where each item is located.
  • Prioritise the replacement of expired or about to expire equipment and medications. If you take the position that it’s important to replace these before they expire, others will follow your example.
  • Minimise the extra items on the trolley. Reducing the clutter also reduces the amount of time spent doing daily checks. Also, less clutter means less stress in an emergency when trying to locate and access the item(s) required.  Remember that as anxiety levels go up, performance usually goes the other way!
  • Ask the staff what makes checking the trolley difficult. Is it the time required, the clinical demands, or even the location of the trolley? By engaging with the staff, you can overcome the challenges together.

Related courses

Advanced Life Support (ALS)

Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)



Australian Resuscitation Council & New Zealand Resuscitation Council, Clinical Standards for Resuscitation, published 3 September 2014,

Crystal Smith
Crystal Smith

Crystal Smith is a Senior Education Consultant for Critical Care Education Services (part of the Medcast Group). She has a clinical background in critical care, paediatrics and education.

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