No one can tell you how your first code will make you feel. No one can tell you how you will react or respond, only that you better respond or move out of the way. Today I experienced my first code blue. I have been an RN for two months now and have worked on a surgical floor for about 3 weeks. I received report on patient X in the morning, told them I would return to complete an assessment and give the patient’s medication, asked if they needed anything right now, and smiled happily as I exited the room to see my next patient. It was like every other morning. Nothing alerted me to anything out of the ordinary with this patient. I had a rhythm…I get report on all of my patients, collect their medications and I’m off to complete my assessment on the patient I feel needed addressing first. I looked at my preceptor and said “I’d like to see patient X first since I need to address some things that the previous nurse did not get to, but since patient Y is due for meds first I will go see patient Y first.” Assessment and medication for patient Y complete….well since patient Z is on my way to patient X’s room, I guess I can stop there next……I wish I would have went to patient X first. Maybe I could have seen through a shift assessment that there was something wrong. As I walked down the hall, excited that I was actually making good timing this morning, I heard a scream from my patient’s room “I need help PLEASE!!” The physical therapist was calling out from MY patient’s room. I ran to the bedside and the patient was sitting at the side of the bed slouched over and unresponsive. The physical therapist was pale and holding her up. She said the was assisting the patient to walk to the bathroom before therapy and as she was walking back to the bed the patient loss consciousness. My face froze and for a second I forgot everything I have been trained to do. ”Call Code BLUE!!”, yelled my preceptor and as I snapped back into reality just a second later I was pushing frantically at the blue button on the wall. I have ACLS training and I graduated from nursing school, this should be like clockwork…..but it wasn’t. Before I could regain my wits to run for the crash cart, the crash cart was running me over followed by nurses and doctors more experienced than myself piling into this tiny room. Everything happened so fast from that moment. And I thought to myself as I was pushed out of the way by the growing number of people who entered the room….why didn’t I react more quickly? I know what to do….I’ve never done it on a human before….but I know what to do none-the-less. At that point I was running trying to find where I could help and what supplies I could gather. Answering questions about this patient that I had met for 5 minutes this morning. Feeling like I failed the patient. I wish I had more time to speak to her and make her laugh, to give her one more smile, to ask if there was anything else I could do for her. No one tells you how gut-wrenching it is to watch a patient fight to survive, have every avenue pursued to save them, and watch them die. No book can describe the agony you feel when a code is called. No one tells you how you fight with your own mortality and the mortality of your loved ones as you clean the cold, lifeless body that just moments ago was “warm, dry, and intact”. And no one prepares you to see the heartache in the family’s eyes as you watch someone tell them that their loved one did not make it. I’ve heard from other nurses about the guilt that you feel when your patient dies. I always thought, “well, if you did everything you could do, what else could you have done? You shouldn’t feel guilty about that.” Now I understand. You can always find something that you “could have done better”. But you learn from each situation and you move on. And the hardest thing is to go about your day caring for your other patients with a smile, because they deserve it, without them knowing that your heart was just broken a few seconds ago. And just like that you must move on……and just that fast you must move on.
Just applied for 4 positions in Virginia. Ahh!
Where in VA? I live in VA. Good luck!
Hello, I know a couple of you who follow my blog are nurses or have a medical profession, and I just wanted to see if I could get some advice. I am graduating from nursing school in 3 weeks (Yay!) and I already started applying for jobs. I received my first call back and will be going on my first interview next friday. Do you have any advice on how to prepare for an interview for an RN position? Do you recommend having a nurse portfolio? Do you have any ideas on what types of questions I should prepare for?
Thank you so much for following me. I’m sorry I never post anything, but I really enjoy reading all of your blogs. Thanks in advance for the advice as well.
I joined tumblr never having any intention of posting or blogging about anything. I saw some blogs that seemed interesting and decided to join so I could follow them. I am in my last semester of nursing school and I love science, so most of the blogs I follow are medical or science related, with the occasional fitblr so I can attempt to motivate myself into exercising and eating healthier. It’s a failed attempt more days than not!
I decided I wanted to say something since I have a couple of followers, who I assume are following me because I follow them. Thanks! I hate to disappoint by never saying anything. All of your blogs are great and I enjoy reading all of your posts.
Maybe I will start to have something to say, maybe not. We’ll see how this whole blogging thing turns out. It is nice to have someone to “talk” to even if you are all complete strangers.
Until we meet again…..