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Show full transcript for Overview and Team Roles & Responsibilities video

The complexity of advanced resuscitation requires a systematic and highly organized set of assessments and treatments that:

  1. Take place simultaneously and
  2. Are performed efficiently and effectively in as little time as possible.

In this lesson, you'll learn about how these high-functioning teams operate, including a breakdown of the individual roles and responsibilities for each.

As successful resuscitation rates increase, so do the chances that the patient receives the best chance for a positive, long-term outcome. And for a resuscitation attempt to be successful, all parts must be performed correctly by a high-performing team of highly trained, organized, and communicative healthcare professionals.

Successful high-performance teams take a lot of work and don't just happen by chance. Each individual in a team must have the expertise to perform his or her job and a high-level mastery of their resuscitation skills. And they have to function as one cohesive unit, which requires a focus on communication within the team dynamic.

It doesn't matter if you're a team leader or a supportive team member. All members of a resuscitation team are equal, and each plays a vital role in any team resuscitation scenario.

Pro Tip #1: What does matter is your ability to not only understand your role, but also the roles of others on your team. When you know the roles and responsibilities of each team member, you can anticipate what's coming next, which will increase the ability of the team to communicate, improve the efficiency and performance of the resuscitation, and the chances for the patient to have a positive outcome.

Now that you understand the importance of understanding the roles and responsibilities of each team member, let's look at some common duties and requirements for each.

High-Performing Resuscitation Team Roles

The roles of each team member must be carried out in a proficient manner based on the skills of each team member and their scope of expertise and practice.

It's vitally important that each member of a resuscitation team:

  • Understands and are clear about their role assignments
  • Are prepared to fulfill their role and responsibilities
  • Have working knowledge regarding algorithms
  • Have had sufficient practice in resuscitation skills
  • Are committed to the success of the ACLS resuscitation

There are a total of six team member roles and each are critical to the success of the entire team.

  1. Team leader
  2. Compressor
  3. Airway manager
  4. AED/Monitor/Defibrillator
  5. IV/IO medications provider
  6. Time recorder

Now let's look at the roles and responsibilities of each.

Team Leader

The team leader is required to have a big picture mindset. This includes the following duties:

  • Keep the resuscitation team organized and on track
  • Monitor the team's overall performance and accuracy
  • Back up any other team member when appropriate
  • Train and coach other team members when needed and provide feedback
  • Facilitate all actions and understanding during the code
  • Focus on the comprehensive care of the patient
  • Assign remaining roles to the other team members
  • Make appropriate treatment decisions based on proper diagnosis

Every symphony needs a conductor, just as every successful resuscitation team needs a team leader for the group to operate effectively and efficiently.

The team leader has a responsibility to ensure that all team members are playing their individual role to the best of their abilities, and this includes doing things the right way at the right times. But perhaps the biggest responsibility of the team leader centers on his or her ability to communicate clearly and effectively and explain to team members the specifics of resuscitation care, such as:

  • Pushing hard and fast in the center of the patient's chest
  • Ensuring the complete chest recoil
  • Minimizing interruptions in chest compressions
  • Avoiding excessive ventilations

The team leader assigns the remaining roles to the other team members and makes appropriate treatment decisions based on proper diagnosis and interpretation of the patient's signs and symptoms.

The team leader also provides feedback to the team and assumes any team roles that other team members cannot perform or if some team members are not available.


The team member in charge of compressions should know and follow all the latest recommendations and resuscitation guidelines to maximize their role in basic life support.

Chest compressions are vital when performing CPR. So vital, in fact, that this team member often rotates with another team member (usually the AED/monitor/defibrillator) to combat fatigue.

The best time to switch positions is after five cycles of CPR, or roughly two minutes. However, if you're feeling fatigued, it's better to not wait if the quality of chest compressions has diminished.

Airway Manager

The airway manager is in charge of all aspects concerning the patient's airway. This includes opening the airway and maintaining it. And using equipment like a bag valve mask or more advanced airway adjuncts as needed.


As you might have guessed, this team member is in charge of bringing an AED to the scene (unless one is already present) and operating the AED. This team member is also the most likely candidate to share chest compression duties with the compressor.

Pro Tip #2: It's important to understand how important high-quality CPR is to the overall resuscitation effort. The compressions must be performed at the right depth and rate. ACLS begins with basic life support, and that begins with high-quality CPR. If BLS isn't effective, the whole resuscitation process will be ineffective as well.

IV/IO/Medications Provider

This team member is in charge of all vascular duties, including:

  • Initiating vascular access using whatever technique is appropriate
  • Administering medications with accuracy and timeliness as directed by the team leader
  • Providing feedback or advice when appropriate

Time Recorder

The time recorder is responsible for keeping a rolling record of time for:

  • All specific resuscitation interventions
  • All medications or treatments administered
  • The frequency and duration of any CPR interruptions

The time recorder also announces to the team when/if a next treatment or more medication is due. If no one person is available to fill the role of time recorder, the team leader will assign these duties to another team member or handle them herself/himself.