When I first got into healthcare back in 2008, I was doing something that I never thought I would stay in. I was a mother and needed something fast to help support my child. I became a nurse’s aide and got my first job at an area nursing home. The first week there I thought I would quit. It was hard for me to give so much to my patients and be able to come home and scrape up what I had left to give to my family. Healthcare is not fast and it certainly is not easy, but it did awaken something inside me that made me realize that I could never be in any other field.
My daughter was 1 years old and she spent the time I went to work at my mother’s house. I would pick her up every day and make the long drive back into the suburbs where I lived. The night I knew my calling was to be a nurse was the night I had to save her life. We were driving along the road and my daughter had just had her hair done by my mother. There was nothing out of the ordinary this night but something inside me told me to glance harder in the rearview mirror. My heart stopped, she was choking. Every little piece of advice and technique that I had tucked inside myself came forward as I safely pulled the car over. I knew I didn’t have enough time to exit the car and get to her side so I jumped between the two front seats. She wasn’t breathing and I didn’t know why. I quickly opened her mouth and swiped the back of her throat and low and behold a barrette from her newly done hair came out and she cried. I took her out of the car and the two of us cried together.
Looking back later I realized that it was my knowledge of first response that helped me save my child’s life. Even though I had never had to use anything I sat in in-services and CPR class for, it was always there. Now eight years later as a nurse I know I can save someone’s life using the skills I was taught. Mentally before I work I tell myself that someone could die that day and that someone has the chance to live if I am able to stay calm and help them. It has simply become a part of my instincts. In the mall food court or at dinner with my own family, that other person who will spring forward and do everything to save someone is there.
I absolutely love my job, I am not afraid to get my hands deep in anything. Is it hard sometimes? Yes. The physical strain of lifting and pulling is not comparable to the mental strain caring for someone else puts on me. Having all the knowledge and skills to save a life and still having to watch someone who has become a part of you die takes the biggest toll ever. I don’t think any health care worker can truly prepare mentally before performing life saving techniques because there is that part that doesn’t know what will happen. The part of mentality that can be prepared is the part that remembers to stay calm and use your intuition and skills to save this person. Adrenaline plays a role in the physical aspect of life saving but it is always important to stay fit and exercise often. I stretch before my shift at work as I know CPR is tiring and there may not always be someone to take over. Although it doesn’t seem that being in shape is important, it most definitely aids in whether or not there is enough stamina to continue to press on someone’s chest or lift a person to safety.
Physical and mental preparedness is crucial to be able to perform life saving techniques efficiently and safely. I always remember that my health is just as important as those that I am caring for because they depend on me. I always renew my CPR/AED when it is due because a lot of the subject matter changes according to what is going on in current events. Some material is outdated and has proven to be harmful to the person receiving the care. The most important thing to remember is to always be ready to use what you learned. Emergencies happen every day and we never know when we will be the only one with the skills to save someone.