Nursing is all about touching lives and lives touching yours along the way
I rarely talk about my job in social media, I believe that there should be a difference between professional and personal matter. However a recent event made me want to vent out my feelings and share to you the real essence of being a nurse. It has been said that nursing is not an easy job. Everyday we become a subject of stressor. As a front liner we get to deal with a lot of people from the medical team and even outside the team. We carry out orders of the doctors, follow up the prescribed diet for our patients, make sure that the medications are promptly taken and ensure our patient's safety. Oftentimes nurses forget to eat meals and we can even last a day without having to eat anything. We prioritize our patient's needs more than our own. We monitor their urine output every shift ironically yet we haven't been able to go to bathroom for 12 hours. You see nurses are more than just a doctor's assistant. Yes, we are humans too, we cry, we feel sad and we get hurt. We're not near perfect but we avoid as much error as possible. So let me share to you an incident that really broke my heart and proved that nurses are also wounded healers.
Last Saturday around 6:15 pm I was administering pain reliever to my patient when I heard a page code blue operating room 3 (code blue is a resuscitation protocol). As an anesthesia nurse we are the first responder of a code that sets in the operating room. So imagine my horror when I heard such announcement. I left my patient and bolted to the OR theater. There I saw a boy lying in the operating table, he was undergoing a heart surgery when his heart was punctured, causing him to bleed profusely. With my adrenaline rushing I can feel my hands trembling while opening the emergency cart. There was not much people in the room that can help me since the operating team were on their sterile gowns and troubleshooting the fiasco.
I opened the E-cart and noted the time when the code started. Since it's an open heart surgery , chest compressions were impossible, what the doctors did was massage the heart to stimulate and fire up impulses to restart it again. I was medicating and giving a medication to constrict the vein and improve blood flow to the heart. Intravenous lines were started and blood were emergency released to replenish the blood loss. Two blood were transfused at the same time, fluid challenge was done. Everyone was trying their best to revive the patient. After almost an hour of what we thought as failed resuscitation the heart restarted and I saw the heart rhythm getting back to normal. I heaved a deep sigh, thankfully, I said to myself. We successfully revived the patient.
- I went back to my unit and asked an apology for leaving my patient without notice. After an hour, I heard that the patient was again deteriorating. Second resuscitation attempt was again made by the medical team. That time I wasn't able to help much since I already have two patients to take care of. Thirty minutes of resuscitation yet to no avail, the surgeon and anesthesiologist decided to appraise the parents of the child. Usually after 30 mins when resuscitation is unsuccessful the chances of survival is very low to none. However the parents were adamant to continue the system, they couldn't seem to give up on their child which was quite understandable. But an hour passed and no progress the patient was then declared dead.
- That perhaps is the hardest thing of being a medical profession, to disclose a very painful statement to the relatives. All of the significant others probably 20 of them were outside the recovery room. I can't even contain my emotion that time as they were waiting to hear their loved ones' demise. I was there, in front of them when the doctors told them they couldn't do anything anymore and that he's dead. Right there and then, they all went ballistic and hysterical. It was so agonizing to hear them cried their heart out that I didn't notice the tears escaping from my eyes. I can feel their pain and the thought of not seeing their 19-year old boy again. Witnessing that certain moment was disheartening .I felt sad, depressed and despondent, I couldn't even look the family in the eye for I was afraid to cry in front of them. It's not that it's my first time seeing a patient died it's just that he is too young and his death is untimely and I can see a great life ahead of him. Nevertheless, I have already accepted my fate and surely I will be confronted with the same situation in the future.
Nurses are privileged to witness the beginning of life, on the other hand we inevitably and painfully witness the end of life. We serve as an instrument to help other people who are suffering and yet some of us were also fighting our own battles. Sadly, it's the nature of our job, but able to touch lives at the same time is fulfilling.