nurse's job during a code?

  1. I'm not a nursing student yet, start in the fall. Anyway, I just wanted to know what does the nurse do when a patient codes? I volunteered on a med/surg unit, a patient coded, and I noticed a bunch of them run into the room along with doctors. Thanks!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Euphrosyne7
    Hi Athena:

    It all depends. Someone records the code, someone else pushes meds. If there is no line, someone gets one in. Someone starts chest compressions. They get the code cart. Usually until the doc gets there, the nurse who is ACLS cert, will be the team leader and kind of delegate what needs to get done.

    I am in the ED so we always have a doc around and we each take a "job". Usually the first nurse in is team leader till the doc gets there and then she/he will tell everyone else what to do.

    Carla
  4. by   Susan9608
    We generally have someone to record and keep time, someone to do chest compressions (unless the doctor takes over), someone to bag (usually an RT, but some times a nurse), someone to draw up code drugs, someone to administer drugs, someone to run the defibrillator, and someone to be a "runner." The other nurses in the unit monitor the other patients and help with phone calls to pharmacy, family members, etc.
  5. by   bopps
    All of the above and then some....Nurses have had to had to run codes in my busy ED before. Experience and ACLS and PALS goes a long way.
  6. by   Athenas83
    Thanks for the responses! Sounds interesting.
  7. by   aerorunner80
    I'm not a nurse but a nurse tech and a nursing student. I just started a new job and the 4th day of my working on the unit, we had a code. What everyone said above is spot on for what happens. Expect the room to get very crowded as well.

    As a nurse tech I can do all of my BLS skills (bagging, compressions, administer O2--although this is the ONLY time I'm legally allowed to do this) We mainly do first response until the nurses get there. I work in critical care so all the nurses are ACLS cert which is nice. When the nurses get there, I will be a runner or if someone hasn't taken that job already.
  8. by   MrChicagoRN
    Depends on the unit.

    When I worked med surg, a nurse from critical care would usually come down. That left other nurses avail to position & bag, start a line, place chest board under back, bring crash cart, clear extra taables, chairs, patients or visitors out of the room, initiate CPR, record orders & drug use as it occured etc


    Once the CCU nurse didn't make it, so I would pull the meds from the cart as ordered & hand them off to the md.
  9. by   cardsRN
    depends on your area of care, on floors code team comes (docs, RT, anesthesia, ICU nurses and at my facility pharmacy comes too) in the units we run our own. often RN's run our own.
    i think the best jobs for a new grad are recording- so you get a sense of how things progress or doing compressions- so you are right there to see what people do and how.
  10. by   JenNJFLCA
    We handle codes on our floor as posted above. I know that if I ever have a patient that codes, I'll have all the other nurses there with me immediately. They are awesome!
  11. by   UM Review RN
    If a patient codes on our unit, the same pretty much happens as described above. Most people are surprised that it's not like the TV shows at all, because it's nurses who do most of the interventions. I even saw a nurse start an IJ line once during a Code.

    We have a Respiratory Therapist to bag and intubate, but we can intitiate it before they get there. One ER doc is the team leader, but until he gets there, whoever is ACLS-trained can interpret the rhythm and push the appropriate meds. One nurse usually records and does crowd control. Techs can either do compressions or act as go-fers, or help out by handling the call lights for other patients.
    No one shouts. No one gets yelled at. The work is all done quickly and fairly quietly.
    A lot of our patients survive.
  12. by   scattycarrot
    One of the best codes I ever saw was run by a very experienced nurse who intubated the patient,ran the code and established IJ access as the junior doctor (who was the only doctor there) just froze and had no idea what he was doing. (Not really his fault as he was working in the ER without having ACLS as the powers that be were saving money....never mind about patients lives!). The patient in question was a young asthmatic and made it too!The best codes are usually those run by individuals with lots of experience and thats often the nurses!

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