Recently there has been increased focus on improved detection and management of deteriorating patients in Australian hospitals. Since the introduction of the medical emergency team (MET) model there has been an increased role for intensive care unit staff in responding to deterioration of patients in hospital wards. Review and management of MET patients differs from the traditional model of ward patient review, as ICU staff may not know the patient. Furthermore, assessment and intervention is often time-critical and must occur simultaneously. Finally, about 10 of MET patients require intensive care-level interventions to be commenced on the ward, and this requires participation of non-ICU-trained ward staff. ? To date, the interventions performed by MET staff and approaches to training responders have been relatively under investigated, particularly in the Australian and New Zealand context. In this article we briefly review the principles of the MET and contend that activation of the MET by ward staff represents a response to a medical crisis. We then outline why MET intervention differs from traditional ward-based doctor?patient encounters, and emphasise the importance of non-technical skills during the MET response. Finally, we suggest ways in which the skills required for crisis resource management within the MET can be taught to ICU staff, and the potential benefits, barriers and difficulties associated with the delivery of such training in New Zealand and Australia.