October 03, 2011

My first code

All I can say is, "What the hell have I gotten myself into?".  It was a Sunday and I worked two back to back 12 hour shifts. I had the same 2 patients (who were very stable) as I had on Saturday and thought it was going to be an easy day.

Lesson learned: NEVER even think, "Wow, I'm starting to get this down, I think today is going to go pretty easy". Never.

One of my stable patients was taking a turn for the worse and I watched him go downhill all day while we did various interventions. Approximately one hour before the end of my shift I went in to check on him and recorded his vital signs which were actually starting to improve a bit.

1800:  My patient: Hey girlie! How ya doing?
          Me: Great thank you! How 'bout you?
          My patient: Doin' fine!

1813: My preceptor screaming from the direction of my patients room: I need help in here right now!!

Everyone just stopped to stare for what seemed like way too long before they realized something was wrong and sprung into action. I am pleased with myself that I did react so quickly. I think I plowed down the respiratory therapist as I made a mad dash towards the room. Really, it is all a blur but oddly at the same time it felt like everything was moving in slow motion. I was scared out of my mind, but it's a good sign that I ran towards the room rather than away from it, right?

Anyway, my patient had pulled off his high flow oxygen and quit breathing. He was gray and unresponsive but his heart was still beating. I was amazed at the number of people in the room, all working as fast as possible to get him intubated. It was exactly 12 minutes from the time my preceptor yelled out for help until he was successfully intubated.

I helped where I could, but mostly stood back and observed as instructed to do so by my preceptor. I wonder if I can do this. I KNOW I can, I will learn, but wow, after it was all said and done, I really felt like I didn't know my head from my ass. Is this what it's like to be a new critical care nurse?

1 comment:

NP Odyssey said...

Very cool...well more for you than your patient. It is a great learning experience because it will happen again, and each time you get more involved and more confident.
Welcome to nursing.