Breanna Cotton

Submitted 2022-10-19

I absolutely agree that being a healthcare provider can be stressful and rewarding. A lot of that balance, as I have experienced, is predicated upon preparation. Caring for ourselves as individuals and educating ourselves on BLS techniques is the best way to prepare to provide great emergency medical care to patients.

I am a certified nurse assistant at an inpatient rehabilitation facility and a nursing student. The level of stress from school and work can be high but I make sure to pour into my own cup so that I can pour into others. Just as we try to do with our patients, we should care for our whole selves: mind, body, relational and spiritual. For me, this includes staying connected with my therapist to communicate challenges and work through things that weigh on me. When I speak with her it allows me to let go of feelings that could swell up and spill into other areas of my life and be unhealthy. With my own feelings addressed, I can listen to the concerns of my patients and be able to listen and encourage them through their journey to a healthier life. I also try to workout regularly and go for runs to maintain an active lifestyle and develop endurance. Staying active clears my mind, keeps my self esteem up and enables me to keep up with the physical demands of health care. My role requires that I am on my feet for twelve hours, lifting, pushing and pulling constantly. It wears on my body but maintaining activity outside of work helps me to endure and develop my posture when performing tedious movements. Lastly, my faith keeps me grounded and helps me to appreciate my health and empathize with those who are in situations that have impaired their health. I interact with a lot of patients that feel a loss of purpose due to their lack of mobility. I always try to encourage them that the survival of their injury is their biggest sign of purpose. Their work is not done: there are people they need to meet, things that they have yet to do and goals that they can still accomplish. The injury does not define them and the best is yet to come.

As health care workers and future nurses, we are taking an oath to care for others and have a responsibility to do so with knowledge and skill. This is why I include education as a part of preparation for providing emergency medical care. Over the past decade, basic life saving training has evolved. In 2004 the American Heart Association (AHA) approved the use of the automated external defibrillator (AED) for children ages 1 year to 8 years who have no signs of circulation, in 2005 The AHA guidelines recommend a new compression-to-ventilation ratio of 30:2, in 2008 AHA released new recommendations that say bystanders can skip mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and use Hands-Only CPR to help an adult who suddenly collapses. More recently, the AHA published in the journal Circulation a statement that examines best practices in education and applies them to resuscitation. This shows the constant updating of techniques that improve the way we care for those in distress. Even as a student, training under nurses, doctors, EMTs and other licensed professionals we share responsibility in saving lives. In addition to keeping our certifications up to date we should also be in the mode of constantly improving our BLS skills to be prepared for any emergency intervention. Admittedly, while I do advocate for continuing education I do know that a cheat sheet is helpful in keeping up with new techniques and the basics of steps. I recommend the lanyard clip that you can purchase on Amazon or at a local scrub store. It attaches to your ID and lists the steps for quick reference. The AHA website also has printables that you can review, hang in your locker or put in a notebook.

The bottom line for preparing mentally and physically before performing life saving techniques on patients is to take care of your own self mentally, spiritually, relationally and physically on a consistent basis. This includes turning down extra shifts and planning around studying and school to make time for you to care for yourself. It also includes keeping up with BLS skills that get updated periodically. This is done by working in the industry, reading and keeping up with your certifications. I am enjoying my journey in health care and looking forward to becoming a nurse. I will continue to pursue the balance of stress and reward as I do believe that the responsibility and oath taken is important and I take it very seriously. This scholarship will help me to offset the cost of tuition and enable me to pursue my goal of becoming a nurse with a lightened financial load.

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