When all else fails, do chest compressions
I recently had my first real involvement as an RN in a code blue experience on my unit (ICU). Although it was not my patient, I was in the thick of things helping out my colleague who was almost as new as I was. When I clocked in for work that day I knew it was going to be a long night. Before I could even get report, a post-CABG patient next to my patients' rooms was having some complications, so I helped as much as possible to get the patient stabilized. After getting behind to begin with, the night vamped up the adrenaline with two code blues on a patient across the unit. We were low staffed that night, as we have been lately, so I knew I had to leave what I was doing and see if anyone needed help. The patient apparently had become septic, with positive growth in both blood culture samples after only a few hours, so we knew it was a bad situation. Instantly I jumped into the rotation of chest compressions, knowing that it was our responsibility to be this patient's heart and do what we could to circulate the emergency drugs. I had done compressions before in nursing school, but at that time we had a large number of staff ready to jump in. In this situation we did not have the luxury of many additional hands so my colleague and I continued to switch back and forth each time we started to get fatigued.
In this code I didn't do much in the way of emergency drugs because each of us had our set roles. I would like the opportunity to get more familiar with the emergency crash carts so that I know exactly where all of the drugs and supplies are at moments notice. Most codes happen unexpectedly, so being familiar with the entire system would be of great importance. When everything was said and done I felt good knowing that with my compressions I did all that I could do. Sometimes the outcome, whether positive or negative, can't be controlled even with the most precise of ACLS standards. I can see this as being a tough reality to accept in certain cases. After witnessing several emergencies, one thing I want to improve is my IV starts. I haven't had many opportunities recently, but it would be a good skill to be able to preform quickly in an emergency to give another means of IV access. I'll need to look for the opportunities and the time in the coming weeks.
Starting in October I will be transitioning to full-time. I had been hired on as part-time and due to our low census on the unit I had been getting called off every once in a while. My change to full-time status will make it less likely for me to get cancelled unless I put in for low census cancellation. This is a good turning point for me as last week I reached my 6 months with my hospital and became a RN II. I can't believe its been that long! Time sure does fly.