​Alexandra Resch submitted 2017-07-24

Careers in healthcare are both rewarding and stressful, with many different challenges faced everyday. This creates the need to prepare in many ways for the many different challenges that I will in time have to come face to face with. I have always known I have wanted to help people in whatever way I can, so because of this desire I have completed an Licensed Nursing Assistant program that has also allowed to also experience places like the Emergency Room and Regional Ambulance, my local Emergency Medical Services system. Because of this, I had to mentally prepare for what I would see in these areas. For example, my first day at Regional Ambulance gave me my first experience with a person who was suffering from cardiac arrest and needed to have CPR performed. At first, I was nervous but had instincts to help me and I ended up assisting with the ventilation process while the medics were performing CPR with LUCAS, a machine that performs CPR for the medic. This was a whirlwind experience for me, and felt like a dream. But, since this was my first brush with a death experience, I did not exactly know what to feel after. In the end, I talked about this with my program instructor about this. I had then realized that talking about my experiences, even if it’s talking to myself in the mirror, is one way that helps me cope with these brushes. Another time I had seen life saving measures in action was when a patient had come into the Emergency Room with a confirmed heart attack. I had seen how the staff worked together and prepared for the patient coming in. This made me realize that preparation can easily make the difference between life and death. When this patient arrived, the ECG machine was already started for the person, the medication was already out and waiting and the staff were prepared and waiting in the trauma room. When the patient arrived, he was transferred, evaluated and transferred to another hospital in less than two hours.

While it may be difficult, physically and mentally to provide life-saving measures to both adult and pediatric patients, it is something that is required of those who chose to become a part of the healthcare field. You have to be quick on your feet and be able to make snap decisions after reading blood tests, ECG’s and other types of labs, because sometimes these tests can show that something is very wrong. If something is wrong, as healthcare professionals it is our duty to fix these problems. The ability to use critical thinking is also important in the decision about how to move forward. If someone has an ECG that has a reading that indicated a heart attack, the first reaction should not be to perform a urine test. It should be to start the treatment for a person having a heart attack. If an individual does not possess critical thinking, then it makes it much more difficult to perform life saving measures. It also is necessary to know whether or not the person what the person’s wishes are, so communication is key. For example, if a person has signed a Do Not Resuscitate order, while it may be difficult to abide by it, it has to be followed. So communicating with the person or their family beforehand (if possible) is very important in the healthcare field.

As a seventeen-year-old college student who also working in a nursing home, the thought of death now hangs around. Preparation for this has never been easy. The ways that I can prepare psychically can be to workout and to increase my strength, so when I am required to do CPR I will be able to perform CPR. Mentally, there are many ways to prepare. I can learn coping skills, I can ask my coworkers about their strategies and I can also join a support group. Also, working as a team, whether it’s in an Emergency Room, the back of an ambulance or in a nursing home is a necessity. If there is no teamwork, then it makes it much harder to save that patient. Teamwork is needed in all situations. In the six months so far that i have worked at the nursing home, I have lost around four residents.This has made me think about the decisions around CPR and life saving measures concerning myself and my residents. Most of my residents do have a DNR order, which means that when they pass away we cannot do anything. This had made me think about what I would want done for me or for those around me. It is difficult to think of what I would want for life-saving measures at the age of seventeen, but it is something that is needed. Also, having so much experience is in the nursing home and in the hospital will help me be a better nurse in the future.