7 Tips To Stay Calm During A Patient Emergency

It’s an hour from the end of your shift, and you’re at the nurse’s station filling out some paperwork. It’s boring – and you’re already mentally at home in your pajamas, watching Netflix. But suddenly, a code blue rings out. You’re the nurse closest to the patient’s room. A doctor is already rushing towards it with a crash cart. It’s your “first code”.
You need to help, but your heart’s beating faster. You can feel yourself getting sweaty. Your skin gets clammy. A feeling of panic starts to rise in your throat. You get up and walk towards the room, and you can feel yourself shaking.

Okay, this scenario is a bit of an exaggeration. While newer nurses may have trouble during codes, experienced nurses can easily handle codes and patient emergencies, and only feel a bit of nervous tension – but even the most experienced nurse can sometimes crack under the pressure and lose their cool.

It’s absolutely crucial that you respond to a code with calm and precision. A patient’s life hangs in the balance – freaking out or making an incorrect decision could cost them everything.

To help you stay calm and collected during a code blue or another patient emergency, we’ve put together 7 quick tips to help you prepare, focus, and provide great care to a patient in case of an emergency.

  1. Be Prepared – Before An Emergency Happens

Make sure you know where the code cart/crash cart is when starting your shift. Laying eyes and hands on it before you begin work is a good way to reinforce its location in your mind, and knowing where it is in case of an emergency can allow you to respond more quickly, and provide better care.

  1. Better Safe Than Sorry – Use That Code Button!

Experienced nurses often don’t call a code until they absolutely have to – they believe that they have the skills, experience, and ability to take care of just about any patient situation.

However, this isn’t always the case, and remember – it’s better to have help and not need it than to need help and not have it. If an emergency situation is developing, hit that code button. Your patient’s life depends on it.

  1. Communication, Communication, Communication

Clear communication is essential in an emergency situation. If you’re in a patient emergency situation, you should be speaking or listening at all times – ask other nurses or doctors what they need you to do, state what you’re doing, ask others if they have performed basic tasks (Have you started the IV? Do we need to intubate? Are we doing CPR?).

By communicating clearly with all personnel on hand while working on a patient, you can delineate tasks efficiently and reduce your own stress levels – you will know exactly what is expected of you, and be able to perform your tasks well.

Tips 4-7 on page two.

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