Nursing assistants and RN’s provide direct care for their patients. Nursing assistants help their patients with many physical and comprehensive tasks for patient care. Tasks of registered nurses include assessing and identifying patients’ needs, implementing their needs, and monitoring the patient’s medical plan and treatment. They also ensure that patient care is conducted according to the policies and standards of their employer. Being a health care provider requires empathy and compassion and most of all trust. Patients are placing their lives in our hands. In any role in the health care field it essential and required that one has fresh basic life support skills for adults, children, and infants.
Basic life support skills provide the knowledge one needs to provide life saving techniques in an emergency situation until medical professionals can take over for the victim. BLS techniques have changed over the years. Comparing techniques from 10 years, ago it was recommended to give 2 breaths for every 15 compressions and 1 breath for every 15 compressions if there were 2 people working on one victim. The reason behind this change is simple; it eliminates the delay in providing life saving compressions instead of wasting precious time to find an adequate CPR mask or a seal if the rescuer is concerned about providing direct mouth to mouth breaths. The chest compression is the most important part of this procedure in order to keep the heart pumping blood throughout the body. Today, proper CPR requires giving 30 chest compressions then 2 breaths. This is why it is so important to keep up with CPR training to keep the skills fresh in your mind and stay up to date on any new developments as the medical field is constantly evolving.
Working in emergency medical care means you must be ready to fire on all cylinders to meet each emergency according to its severity at first sight. Every emergency is an urgent matter to the patient or their loved one. Being able to define this and what or who comes first is an art of knowledge and respect for true medical treatment.
Working in urgent psychiatric facilities as a behavioral health tech for over 10 years I have experienced a plethora of scenarios that in some cases I wasn’t prepared for. Thankfully providing CPR was not one of them as I stayed on top of my trainings every 2 years to prepare me for the day I might need to save a life. The day came where my skills were needed. At the moment I started doing chest compressions there was a burst of adrenaline throughout my body. I knew that what I was doing was going to save this person’s life. Not one thought of self fills your mind. All you can think of is “are my chest compressions deep enough?” Being a person’s heart pump at the hands of your own strength and ability at the moment of cardiac arrest is a blessing for the person you are saving. Administering CPR is exhausting and leaves you breathless. This is why physical endurance is invaluable when working in the medical field. Today, I am a nursing assistant and going to school to be a registered nurse. I am here to save lives, whatever that takes.
With that being said, what does it take? Staying physically and emotionally balanced is imperative to be prepared for work every day in the health care field. Emotional balance means being able to recognize when you need to do some self-care on yourself. Personally, I am an advocate for prevention. I prevent myself from burning out physically and emotionally through simple self-care techniques. Some examples of self-care can be doing something you enjoy, meditation, sleep, therapy, exercising regularly, eating healthy food, and maintaining healthy relationships. Often I am unable to take breaks. In these circumstances I will do some quick deep breathing exercises where I inhale for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds, and I repeat this 4 times if I have the time. Working in the medical field can be unpredictable, stressful, and physically exhausting if you are not prepared. This is why staying physically fit is crucial in this line of work. Your shifts can vary from 8, 12, or even 16 hours. You are not simply able to just leave work when your shift ends if your replacement does not show up. If you hold a license of any sort you would be at the mercy of the Board of Nursing for patient abandonment if you left work without someone to replace you. So an 8 hour shift can easily turn into a 16 hour shift. I prepare myself for this on my way to work as a nursing assistant as this is common in my field. I listen to calming music and repeat positive affirmations out loud in my car. I say to myself, “Today is going to be a great day, I can handle any situation thrown at me, I expect to experience good and I am a compassionate and caring human being.” I also stay physically active in my personal time so I am prepared for the tasks of the day, expected or unexpected.
The ACLS Scholarship for Health Care Providers provides critical information on what to expect in the healthcare field. This essay enables me to contribute my experiences in the hopes of empowering men and women who are entering this line of work. Remember that your physical health, emotional balance, and self-care are the key to a successful career in life.