How to call a code?

Nurses General Nursing


How do you call a code at your hospital? (Forgive my ignorance...Nursing semester I, week II.) :p

Each hopsital should have their own protocol.


564 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

We have a special number we dial the operator picks it asap and pages overhead. He also yell down the hall for immediate help. Icu, cath lab..... have code switches to pull.

Hope that helps


Tweety, BSN, RN

33,525 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

Same here with the special number. The operator answers, we say "Code Blue room such and such" and she/he announces it overhead and the code blue team responds.


221 Posts

So, does that mean if the nurse finds a patient not breathing, etc. she calls out down the hall for someone else to call the code, or picks up the patients phone to call the operator, and then turns her attention to the patient? How long does it take a team to respond? What kinds of healthcare workers are on the teams?Thank you!


564 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

If anyone finds a pt not breathing they need to initiate a code. If I found a pt not breathing and I was the only around I would pick up the phone and call the code. I would the start cpr. If somenone else was with me I would tell them to call the code while I initiated cpr.

Response time is going to vary from facility to facility. at my facility it within minutes and people working on the floor respond until the code team gets there. While waiting for the team the crash cart is brought in the room the pt is hooked up to the defibrilater, usually iv sitesd are checked for patencey and o.9 ns is hung. If there is no iv someone starts one. all this is done while maintaining cpr. Also someone needs to bring the pt's chart in the room.

The code team consistes of a docter, resp therapist, pharmacist, rns. Lab also responds they draw initail blood at any that is necessary during the code. One of the first thing that is done is analysing the heart rhythm because if it's a shockable rhythm you need to shock ASAP. Another early prioroty is getting a Ett tube for bagging purposes. Meds being gave will depend on the pt's rhytm and vs if there are any, and poss cause of the code. Some one needs to record everything that happens during the code.

Another important role is talking to any family that is present and comforting the roomate. If at all possible get the roomate out of the room.

If you have the opportunity to be involved in a code jump in and do whatever you can. Chest compressions is a good job for a newbie because you're right up front as can see and hear everything.

I hope I've helped.



1 Article; 5,758 Posts

Each facility has different proceedures and they should go to great lengths to make sure you know them. One thing that always helps is to know where you are located. I always try to be aware of my position for just that reason. No use calling a code and going blank when asked to give location of patient.

gwenith, BSN, RN

3,755 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

We do not have phones in every room ( that is for private patients) we still rely on pressing the patients buzzer three times to summon help from other staff on the floor. The other staff member if they hear three buzzes pokes thier head in the door (to make sure it is not a little old lady with a puzzled look saying "how do you get these things to work??) and then calls the emergency number and brings the resus trolley. In the meantime the person at the bedside has cleared the patients airway and removed the pillows ready to start CPR. A lot of institutions have face masks inside every room so that you can start mouth to mask rather than mouth to mouth. Usually though the other staff respond so fast with the resus trolley that we have a bag/mask assembly there by the time you have managed to get the patient flat.


2 Articles; 2,806 Posts

My hospital you just pull the "Code 500" switch on the wall in the patient's room. Operator then pages an overhead Code 500 and ER doc, medical team care, and CCU, ICU, respiratory, nursing supervisor shows up.


1,245 Posts

Originally posted by Noney

We have a special number we dial the operator picks it asap and pages overhead. He also yell down the hall for immediate help. Icu, cath lab..... have code switches to pull.

Hope that helps


Ditto Blue code buttons In our CCU, ICU rooms and call 22 and report code and room number otherwise, find out the policy where you are and yes call for help either down the hall or by phone prior to starting CPR

Sarah, RNBScN

477 Posts

Each patient area, has this panel board with a call bell attached to it. If you find a pt. unresponsive, etc...push "code" button. This cutton automatically signals our switchboard operator who announces over the PA where the code is.

Chaya, ASN, RN

932 Posts

Specializes in Rehab, Med Surg, Home Care.

Days and evenings we call the switchboard operator via special number which rings red "code" phone at the switchboard. The code is then announced on the overhead page system: three chimes, followed by voice announcing "Code Blue at (hospital location). Nights there is no operator so the nurse finding the patient "down" uses the phone to overhead announce code/ location (or ensures that another staff member does so), then starts BLS. Each unit is responsible for assigning a staff member to Code each shift and each unit is responsible for a specific function during a code (bringing the defibrillator, recording the procedure, IV access and meds, etc...).

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