The sound is undeniable. As I hear the distinctive chime on my radio, I stop, turn the volume up and begin to softly whisper, "over 18, over 18, over 18."
"Attention ED staff, Attention ED staff, standby for CODE medical Cardiac Arrest...16 yr old..."
I pick up the pace and head to the Resuscitation room. Our Paramedic is already there grabbing supplies and setting up. I take a quick survey of what else needs to be done and begin to help.
"Peds respiratory, you're needed to Peds Resus STAT."
More people start to fill the room, roles are assigned and we all take our place.
I've been a nurse for 4 years and up until that day, I had never done chest compressions. I'd helped bag, done charting, given meds, do procedures, and assist, just never compressions. It isn't something that I was afraid of, the role was just always assigned to someone else.
Someone in the hallway calls out, "CPR in progress" as I hear the ambulance bay doors open. I immediately grab the stool and have it ready.
The EMS personnel stayed to help with compressions, switching out every 2 minutes or whenever someone got tired. It was WAY more tiring than I ever could have imagined. Towards the end, the RN assigned to medication offered to switch roles to give me a break. I was out of breath and I could feel the sweat dripping down my face.
A parent was brought in, and as they called out their child's name I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. I was so focused up until that point, and as I turned away I found comfort in seeing almost every person in the room struggling with the same thing. I said I silent prayer for The Lord to PLEASE help me not break down in front of the family...that would be saved for the drive home. All efforts continued with a time frame set. Then it was called.
Later, I took an opportunity to hug the parent and tell them that we loved them.
I spent the rest of the day trying to focus on the task at hand. I re-entered my assigned rooms, apologized about the wait, and continued on for rest of the shift. I saved the tears for the drive home, and anytime I am alone and think of the children that left this world too soon.
I keep thinking back to a specific moment in High School. My mom worked nights, and as I went into the dining room one morning, I saw her crying. When I asked what was wrong, she said one of her patients had passed away that night. I felt bad that she was sad, but I didn't truly understand...until now.
I truly love being a Nurse. I am also grateful that eventually I realized my mom was right, and following in her footsteps was the right choice. I work with such an amazing group of talented people who are self motivated and will not hesitate to help out whenever needed.
Even though my career is challenging, physically/mentally/emotionally, it is rewarding. I try to stay focused on the patients & families that make me smile, and my work family that keeps me coming back. When faced with tragedies, I think about how blessed I am to Love what I do.