Jordan Graham

Submitted 2024-03-13

Discuss emergency medical care from the perspective of a medical student

Emergency Medical Care is something that everyone who works in health care will encounter at least once in their career, no matter what your job title is. I’m currently a registered nurse in a pediatric unit, but before that, I worked in the critical care unit in which you had to be ACLS certified and perform emergency medical care regularly. I prepare myself mentally before doing emergency medical care by remaining calm and remembering three letters; ABC. It is important to remain calm during a crisis and not to act on your emotions because your patient needs you and his or her family also need you to have your head in the game and focus on the task at hand which is saving your patient’s life. Next are the ABCs: A stands for airway, B for breathing, and C for circulation. In a situation in which a patient becomes unresponsive and is not breathing or has no pulse, you first want to protect their airway. This can be done with a bag mask device or with intubation so that we can give breaths to them while securing their airway. In this scenario, you will likely have a respiratory therapist or physician taking over this part, and then it will become your job to focus on circulation and perform CPR. I prepare physically for emergencies by having the patient’s room set up for an emergency before they arrive to the unit, even if they seem to be doing well. I make sure I have suction supplies set up in the room and oxygen supplies set up in the room as well. I also make sure I know my patient’s code status, whether they will be a full code and want all interventions done, DNI in which they don’t want to be intubated, or a DNR in which they don’t want any interventions done at all. I also make sure I know their allergies beforehand to make sure they aren’t allergic to any medications that may be administered during a resuscitation event. My best advice to those pursuing a medical degree for doing emergency care is to have confidence in yourself and to work together with your team. You can’t do each job on your own with regard to compressions, maintaining breathing, giving emergency medication, and recording. The roles during a resuscitation should be made clear so that each individual can focus on their task at hand, thus giving the patient the best chance for a better outcome. Your coworkers will be your biggest resource in a resuscitation situation. Use them to help your patient as best you can. My next piece of advice would be to have confidence in yourself. You are a licensed health care provider, whether that be a nurse, respiratory therapist, physician, or even a nursing assistant taking turns giving CPR to a patient. You have been certified and trained to do this, and you have a patient and his or her family who are counting on you to do your job to the best of your ability. I would also recommend that if you ever find yourself doubting yourself or have any questions about anything, speaking to your manager or nursing educator if available would also be a good resource to use as they can probably provide you with more resources and education on emergency care. My hospital has dummies that health care workers can practice CPR on and give breaths to via bag mask ventilation, and they are connected to a computer that gives you feedback on your performance, which can also be reassuring and help boost health care workers’ confidence in their abilities.