Nurses are the main group of clinicians who activate the medical emergency team (MET), placing them in an excellent position to provide valuable insights regarding the effectiveness of this system. This descriptive study aimed to explore nurses' satisfaction with the MET, perceived benefits and suggestions for improvement. The study also sought to examine the characteristics of nurses who were more likely to activate the MET. Using a survey design, descriptive statistics as well as content analysis were used to analyse the data. Seventy-three nurses (79% response rate) returned their completed surveys. A positive and significant relationship was found between years of nursing experience and MET activation (p = 0.018). Overall, nurses were satisfied with the MET, with suggestions for improvement including more education on medical emergencies for both ward and MET staff. Whilst the MET system is meeting the expectations of the majority of ward nurses, there is room for improvement, which includes a more positive attitude of the MET when summoned for 'borderline' cases. Investment in ongoing education of clinicians and interdisciplinary communication is likely to encourage less experienced nurses to utilise this system, whilst decreasing the reticence of some nurses to call the MET. �� 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.