It was a regular night shift, I was assigned in the middle bay when I heard the charge nurse speaking to the Outreach nurse that one of his patients was not alert and oxygen saturation going down. We immediately went to the room and saw the patient unconscious and pale looking. I went back to the nurse station to dial the emergency hotline to ask for adult resuscitation team to come to our ward. I had experienced several cardiac arrest situations in my nursing career when I was still working in the Philippines but it was rare here in the UK. One of the reasons is that since the majority of our patients are aged 70 to 100, if they deteriorate, they or their family were choosing the DNAR or the do not resuscitate status if their heart stops beating.
Unfortunately, we were unable to revive the patient even though we did our best. The leader of the resuscitation team said after, “Good job everyone.” The reason why I am writing this experience is because after the cardiac arrest, I was very silent and there were a lot of thoughts running through my head.
The resuscitation team made a team debrief after and we’ve talked about what happened. The two senior doctors facilitated the team debrief and they’ve discussed why we stopped the resuscitation. The female senior doctor said that everyone’s role is vital because we are a team. During the resuscitation, she asked everyone if we agree to continue the resuscitation of the patient, only few members answered but we still carry on the resuscitation and the reason why she asked us all to answer is because she values the decision of everyone. She said we should never ever say that “I am just an F1 doctor” or “I am just a band 5 nurse” or “I am just a cleaner.” She wants us to speak, for example, it might be that the patient had said something to us during the day that is very vital for us to continue the resuscitation.
Another important thing she said is to listen to what is being said for the update of the situation and for the delegation of task. And since the patient is in an isolation room, she said that appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves, masks, etc.) must be readily available inside the room because we still have our families, our children, our partners that we love that’s why we should take care of ourselves.
This is my first cardiac arrest experience as band 5 staff nurse in the hospital, and the resuscitation process in the Philippines is different here in the UK that’s why I was still grasping and watching what everyone was doing. And by hearing from the doctors say, “Good job everyone”, I said to myself, “Wow, I was valued” even though I felt that I don’t deserve that because there’s a lot of things that I do not know. I felt like my role and effort was appreciated. I felt like I was enough no matter how small my role was or how little the help I have given. I am enough. There were a lot (what I mean with a lot is really A LOT) of improvements especially on my part but what was seen by the doctors were our efforts. That’s one of the things that I really like about working here in the UK, being treated professionally and with respect. Value for one another and Respect are two of the core values of our hospital. I’ve realized that the workers and staffs are living up to these values. No pointing of fingers, surely there were a lot to improve but these things were addressed in the right manner in the Team Debrief.
I went on my sleeping break for an hour and still, I was recapturing what happened earlier. I said to the charge nurse, “Rick, I don’t know why but after the cardiac arrest, I was very silent, I don’t know what to say. I still have a lot of things to learn and that I do not know.” He replied, “Yes, there’s still a lot of things that you don’t know, that I don’t know and that they do not know.” He’s trying to tell me that nobody knows everything. (Why is everyone so kind in here?) I plan to speak to my manager to book me a study leave to attend Intermediate Life Support and all other trainings as I see the vitality of these in my line of work. Remember how I’ve learned a lot about communicating with distressed and worried people in the training: Sage and Thyme.
Probably one of the reasons why there’s a lot of thoughts running through my head after is because I was feeling stressed lately at work. There were a lot of highs and lows with my job. We are happy whenever our patients get to be discharged but we also had patients who deteriorated and who passed away and this emergency cardiac arrest. We are not robots, we have our feelings of sadness and loss for the family and we are also affected. That’s how emotional our job is.
Just to end this, I can say that there are times that it’s busy, tiring and stressful but it’s also fulfilling whenever we get to provide the comfort and needs of our patients and whenever we see them happy.
By the way, I searched in YouTube for the demo of cardiac arrest from the Resuscitation Council (UK) for the readers who are not from the health care industry to imagine the scenario. This is how it’s being done. Ideally.
One more thing, the featured image is from google.
Thanks for reading, as always! =) Please comment below your thoughts about this post.