Is he or is he not…

The day began like a normal morning in our busy ER. I had Ben, a student nurse, working with me, and we were taking care of two patients having difficulty breathing. While we were examining one of our patients, I noticed I was getting an ambulance patient in my open room. I debated whether we should finish the exam or go right away, and decided to go check out the new kid then return to finish our exam. “Adolescent male, postictal after his fifth seizure today,” the EMS woman told me. I watched as they transferred the boy from the stretcher to the bed. He didn’t react at all. Most kids at least appear startled during the transfer. Ben and I walked over to the patient. His skin was pink but he wasn’t reacting to us or responding to painful stimuli. We placed him on monitors and they immediately started alarming. His oxygen saturation was 81%. “Is he breathing!?” I shouted. EMS quickly answered, “Don’t worry, he’s just postictal.” Ben and I stood there examining him, and Ben was the first to speak. “I really don’t think he’s breathing.” I agreed, and had the tech overhead page for help while we started grabbing the airway equipment. Within seconds we had a respiratory therapist, pharmacist, and two attending doctors at the bedside. They started shouting out what felt like hundreds of orders while the respiratory therapist was bagging the patient. Within minutes we had the patient in the critical care room for intubation. As I was giving report to the critical care nurse, I saw Ben peeking in from the hallway. I motioned for him to come stand with me. I was expecting him to be reluctant to enter the room- it’s an intimidating place with all the doctors and machines, but Ben was at my side immediately. An ER nurse is born, I thought to myself. We went back to our assignment and began deciphering my notes so we could chart on the insanity that had just occurred. While we were standing there, Ben said, “That was so cool! I definitely want to be an ER nurse!” I was still shaking slightly and had been fighting the urge to vomit. I think I prefer my patients when they are breathing! 

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21 thoughts on “Is he or is he not…

  1. Sounds like he\’s gonna be an adrenaline junkie!!! An ER or ICU nurse is born..that\’s what happened to me while I was a student…I was hooked. Stayed in ICU\’s and Code teams for 17 years! I still automatically start to react and get an adrenaline surge if I hear a Code called when I\’m a visitor!! Good job, you two! Fun times!
    hugs,
    Jean

  2. Yes, I must admit I prefer patients who are breathing too!  As a matter-of-fact, I prefer them to be coherent too!!!!!  Glad to hear all is going well, oh wait, sorry to hear about the new complex that is going up in your neighborhood!  Just wait, one day you and Mike will buy that fabulous dream house!
    Take care!
    Eve

  3. Holy Crap! The first thought that comes to mind is..WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH THE EMS? Don\’t worry..he is just postictal! Good thing the two of you know your stuff. What a bunch of morons! I don\’t know maybe I am missing something here.
     
    Quite the little grasshopper you had with you for this patient..way to handle the situation Master Katie!!  KUNG PAO!!!
     
     

  4. Hold on, did I miss something? I thought the first thing EMS always assessed was ABC: airway, breathing, and circulation. How can one NOT notice when a patient isn\’t breathing? "Don\’t worry, he\’s just postictal". So?
    Anyway, good thing you guys were there. I guess after a while, ER starts to turn into something that isn\’t as scary as you first thought, and once you realize that, then you\’re on a roll. I wish I could have my own student nurse but then again, I still kinda feel like a student myself. Good job, though! Keep it up!

  5. Hey Katie!
     
    Wow it has been forever! I am so happy to see you are loving being a Pedi ER nurse and doing so well at it! I don\’t know how you kept up w/ blogging in nursing school! I am 4 months from graduating and we are finishing up Pedi right now!  I havent\’ updated my space in forever cuz things are just way too crazy to keep up w/ it right now, but I\’ll try to stop by again soon!
     
    Congrats! Hugz! Great Job!

  6. Hi Katie,
     
    Wow, it has been so long since I have checked your blog, but I\’m glad to see you are still writing.  I have really neglected my blog, school has just been crazy, but I hope to get back into it again.  In case you forgot I am the x-ray tech student from Arizona.  I hope you remember me.  Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and I look forward to reading all the posts I have missed in the last few months.  Take care.
    Dustin
    http://azx-raytechstudent.blogspot.com/

  7. Remember to always trust your gut feelings. You saved a life there will be many more to save always keep learning from those around you even students can teach us new things
     

  8. how exciting…..  I am nearly done with my prereqs for nursing and can start applying after i get the math out of the way, I should have been applying this year except that they raised the bar on the math requirement and I put it off…..  I fear I wont be able to get into a nursing program and I would love to be in your shoes… Someone told me if I could get A\’s and B\’s in A& P I could make it… what do you think? I would love any input or advice… as with lots of studying I have managed to get A\’s and B\’s in A&P…..   Joanne Portland Oregon

  9. Hey Katie,
    Awesome site! I am a student nurse in my senior year, I will graduate this May and can\’t wait. So far I have only skimmed all of your blogs but I will read more thoroughly as time allows. I have a feeling that I will learn alot about the first year after graduation. Right now I am excited about this journey being over but I am also scared to death…..mind you I am 34 yrs old. Unfortunately I don\’t feel my age will help me much. I think I want to go to an ER but I guess time will tell. Look forward to reading you blogs!!!! 🙂
    Carlotta

  10. Hey Katie,
    Awesome site! I am a student nurse in my senior year, I will graduate this May and can\’t wait. So far I have only skimmed all of your blogs but I will read more thoroughly as time allows. I have a feeling that I will learn alot about the first year after graduation. Right now I am excited about this journey being over but I am also scared to death…..mind you I am 34 yrs old. Unfortunately I don\’t feel my age will help me much. I think I want to go to an ER but I guess time will tell. Look forward to reading you blogs!!!! 🙂
    Carlotta

  11. Good golly Katie!  I must admit I think of you often….like, "wow, how did Katie do this nursing school buz in such a short time"….I\’m dying here just for my ADN and you got your BSN in less time than me!!!!  Then I think, "Wow, what would Katie do" when I hear other students talking on top of the boring instructor during lecture…and I think oh yeah, lets see what I can make out of my beauty marks (referring to the star on your arm) and how funny people look when they are trying NOT to fall asleep during lectures and counting how many times a person yawns in one minute.  Yes Katie, I\’m trying to survive here.  Any helpful hints???  LOL.  Hope all is well and please post more stories, they are so great!
    Bye!

  12. Such a cool story! It\’s like you are seeing the entire circle: starting as the overwhelmed nursing student, fighting hard to get through it, finding yourself on the floor of an intimidating ER, then moving to another city, and now, all those intense experiences later, you led a nursing student through an important experience. What a long, strange trip it\’s been. — Abe

  13. Reading a story like this feels exactly the same as watching that "ER" show on TV))  You\’ve got to have a lot of guts to work in an environment like this!

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