Saving my first life

A typical day at work soon turned into a life or death situation for Enrolled Nurse Grace Sinclair.

27 Apr 2017

It was around 11:00am on Thursday 20 October, 2016 and I was half way through my eight hour shift. I’m a Graduate Enrolled Nurse with Ramsay Health Care working in the Cardiac Ward at the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital in the new Health Precinct at Kawana.

I was discharging a patient, which is always such a great feeling, when I suddenly heard an ear-piercing alert tone ringing throughout the ward. I dropped everything, looked at my monitor in the hallway and it was bright red with the word ‘EMERGENCY’ printed boldly across it—never a good sign.

I grabbed the crash cart (the emergency trolley filled with defibrillator, oxygen, and all of the resuscitation equipment my team would need) and ran to the patient’s bedside to meet my colleagues.

We began our DRS ABCD—the acronym we all live by in any emergency situation.

D – Danger. Assess the room for danger, to the team and to the patient. It was clear, so we moved on.

R – Response. The patient was unresponsive. We had to act quickly.

S – Send for help. We hit the emergency button located next to the patient’s bedside. An emergency response team was alerted and was on their way.

A – Airways. Assess the patient’s airways to see if there are any obstructions.

B – Breathing. Nothing. Again, we needed to move fast.

C – Compression. We started CPR—30 compressions followed by two breaths. Repeat. My team and I started compressions; we supported the patient’s neck, opened the airways and administered oxygen via an Oxi-Viva Medical Oxygen Resuscitator.

D – Defibrillator. While compressions were still taking place we applied defibrillator pads to the patient’s chest. The defibrillator was turned on and a shock was advised. The team stood clear as a shock was about to be delivered.

It was automatic—it all happened so quickly. I don’t even remember how many rounds of CPR we completed, but I do remember the emergency response team arriving and taking over and bringing the patient back to life almost instantly.

I learnt a lot that day. It really made me appreciate how lucky I am to work with so many committed, caring and highly skilled nurses. I realised that my skills and training had now become second nature.

When I started at TAFE Queensland I was scared I didn’t have what it takes to be a nurse, but now I know I can handle myself in any situation and do whatever it takes to best care for someone. To me, Ramsay’s philosophy of ‘People Caring for People’ is what nursing’s all about. I’ll be a nurse forever.

Read more about Grace’s story here.

For more information about nursing courses available at TAFE Queensland visit our website or call 1300 308 233.

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