Eating Our Young

In nursing like any other field of work, we must have our first experience in everything. Our first admission, losing a patient, foley insertion, nasal gastric tube placement, starting an IV line and of course the big one, our first CODE BLUE. As a new nurse on the floor completing the preceptorship program, I was excited to go solo. I knew that I had my charge nurse and other nurses on the floor ready to help. My charge nurse advised me that I was receiving an admission from the ER.

Shortly after, the ER called and I took report. My patient arrived with the transporter and no nurse at his side. He was taken to the room and I followed. After he was placed in bed, I noticed the patient was barely breathing. I called out his name to introduce myself and he was not able to respond. As a new nurse I panicked. I began thinking of school and all the different types or respiration. The normal Adult at rest breaths 12-18 breaths per minute. Tachypnea is rapid breathing. Kussmaul respiration is associated with severe acidosis. Cheyne-Stokes is alternating episodes of apnea (cessation of breathing) and periods of deep breathing. I was exhausted and instead of calling for help, I picked up the phone and called a CODE BLUE.

My charge nurse and other nurses came in the room with the crash cart and we began working on the patient. The code team shortly arrived minus the doctor. The team includes: experienced nurses from both ICU  (Intensive Care Units) and the ER  (Emergency Room), and also a RT (Respiratory Therapist).  An ICU nurse looks at the patient and asks, “Who called the CODE BLUE, this patient is breathing?” In fear I answered” I did.” An ER nurse started laughing at me.

In that the intensivist (MD) covering the hospital walks in. He rushes to the patient and asked, “Who called the CODE BLUE? Both the ICU and ER nurse quickly pointed towards me. The intensivist said, “JOB WELL DONE. Don’t wait until the patient is dead, call as soon as you see him in any respiratory distress so I can reverse the process and he stands a better chance of surviving. Nurses take notes of her action.”

The joke was on them. They were ready to eat me alive knowing that I was a new nurse. We as nurses tend to EAT OUR YOUNG. Let us try something new and lift our new young nurses! We were all there once. I always make sure that I support new nurses anywhere I work. They too can teach me something.

By the way, my patient was intubated in my room and taken to ICU. He survived and later walked out the hospital with his family.

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