Situation on the road today - help me learn from it? Situation on the road today - help me learn from it? - pg.2 | allnurses

Situation on the road today - help me learn from it? - page 2

I am a nursing student, just finished my first semester and this is something that happened to me today while driving. I rode with the new girl at my office while she went to pick up something... Read More

  1. Visit  kaliRN profile page
    8
    Originally Posted by applescruffette
    If you suspected he was drunk, you would have called the cops. At least a drunk person can see the road somewhat when they drive. Had that been my husband, the daddy of my children, out there driving while asleep, I would have been absolutely mortified to know that someone didn't try to stop him if they had the chance. You'd also probably never forgive yourself if you heard about this dude's demise in a car accident during the evening news after this happened.

    You have to call 911 no matter what in a situation like this. The emergency personnel would rather be inconvenienced by a false alarm of an impaired driver, if that was actually the case, than to go clean up an accident scene that they could have avoided had they known about the impaired driver beforehand.

    I think the interacting you did with him was fine. I probably wouldn't have opened his door either...you just never know what he is going to do. It's not a great learning opportunity, though;
    the reality of it is that someone's son drove away from you while impaired without you immediately notifying the cops.
    Thanks for the feedback. I did what I thought to do at the time and have learned a lot from the situation. However, 911 was indeed called. I did not think to get his license plate to give them. They were given his description and a description of his vehicle. I have no idea after that if they chased him down. There is no way I was going to try to physically detain him, so other than having his license plate number, in terms of making sure he was tracked down and an accident prevented, I could not do much else.

    OP: Just wanted to speak to the tone of applescrufette's comments. One of the reasons I tend not to post on threads such as these is because I see a consistent pattern in them. It presents something like this:
    1. OP posts about a clinical or professional situation and states they want to "learn" from the experience. The OP tends to be a nursing student or new RN.
    2. More seasoned or highly experienced nurses share their wisdom and experience. The critique the OP respectfully, offer their guidance to what the OP "missed," or present a point of view that differs from the OP.
    3. The OP comes back on the thread a few posts later and DEFENDS their actions.
    4. Other SN or GN's come on and accuse the experienced RNs of lateral violence, bullying, "eating their young," or any other bit of foolishness.
    5. I stop reading. I am a new grad myself. I post where my thoughts are most relevant. I believe in respecting the collective wisdom of experience. I think this attitude of certainty, this "know-it-all" nursing student and GN attitude is a hazard.

    I don't think this was the case here. I think when you stated "learning experience" in your post, you were earnestly seeking to garner a more appropriate course of action. I think you received it from the PPs and acknowledged your own error by not getting his license plate number. What you did, was based on YOUR experience and YOUR knowledge and clearly. Based on those factors, you did what you thought was appropriate. Then you did an even wiser thing and asked a group to critique your experience.

    I think its unnecessary and inappropriate to lay on the guilt: the reality of it is that someone's son drove away from you while impaired without you immediately notifying the cops. Especially because you notified EMS. Could you have repeated your call to 911 with the license plate number when he chose to drive away? Certainly. Would you do that in the future? I believe you would. Do you deserve to hear: You'd also probably never forgive yourself if you heard about this dude's demise in a car accident during the evening news after this happened. Give me a break!

    Please continue to keep an open mind when posting here. Your desire for learning from your experience is precisely why I come on these boards
  2. Visit  not.done.yet profile page
    0
    kaliRN, thank you so much. You got the gist of it exactly and I appreciate it. I did make mistakes in the situation, largely out of ignorance/inexperience and do believe I will be better equiped in the future thanks to the guidance I got when I reached out for it. I am not discouraged and the feedback is most welcome.

    I guess it didn't occur to me to call the police because in my town, the police come along with EMS, or did in this case, perhaps because it was a traffic situation? It was an officer I gave the information to about the car description. Honestly I didn't even know or question if police regularly come to EMS calls...this is my first experience ever with EMS.
  3. Visit  Baloney Amputation profile page
    0
    Quote from kaliRN
    I think its unnecessary and inappropriate to lay on the guilt: the reality of it is that someone's son drove away from you while impaired without you immediately notifying the cops. Especially because you notified EMS. Could you have repeated your call to 911 with the license plate number when he chose to drive away? Certainly. Would you do that in the future? I believe you would. Do you deserve to hear: You'd also probably never forgive yourself if you heard about this dude's demise in a car accident during the evening news after this happened. Give me a break!
    Okay, so minus my impassioned ranting, you do appear to agree...

    To make things clear, your nursing knowledge is much more current than mine and you will quickly surpass my nursing experience, so I am not here to chide a nursing student for being a newbie because I don't think I can, nor is that my intent. However, I will speak as a prudent person, since I usually am one of those, and say that in a nonhypothetical situation like this, a person should do what is prudent and make as sure as one can that someone with some authority can be tracking this impaired driver down to stop him. The thinking process of what could be wrong (diabetes, seizure, etc.) should not overshadow what is obviously wrong (impaired driver continuing to operate a vehicle). That is all.
  4. Visit  kaliRN profile page
    0
    Originally posted by applescruffette
    Okay, so minus my impassioned ranting, you do appear to agree...

    To make things clear, your nursing knowledge is much more current than mine and you will quickly surpass my nursing experience, so I am not here to chide a nursing student for being a newbie because I don't think I can, nor is that my intent. However, I will speak as a prudent person, since I usually am one of those, and say that in a nonhypothetical situation like this, a person should do what is prudent and make as sure as one can that someone with some authority can be tracking this impaired driver down to stop him. The thinking process of what could be wrong (diabetes, seizure, etc.) should not overshadow what is obviously wrong (impaired driver continuing to operate a vehicle). That is all.

    I don't think you chided her for being a newbie, I think you interpreted her wrongdoing more harshly then was necessary. I think it is difficult to be prudent when a situation presents itself that one is unaccustomed to, even more so when you are trying to apply to new knowledge to that situation. I think the OP made it clear that she recognized her errors and I think that should have been enough to sidestep your "impassioned ranting." I think you, myself, and all of the previous posters agree that police should have been involved and a license plate should have been offered. All I was trying to convey, is that experiential knowledge is just that, so what is "common sense" and prudent to you - may not be so crystal clear to another.

    Personally, if I had acted as the OP, I would have recognized the potential harm this man could have caused to both himself and others. Studies exist that rate tired drivers over intoxicated ones. Then the host of other reasons this man could have been a hazard: alcohol, narcolepsy, epilepsy ... Recognized the "should have" on my part ... I would just be devastated, not as a newbie nurse, but as an empathetic person - that I didn't make the right choice. If I had read your post, I would have only been further crushed. I think when individuals are receptive to learning, then one should choose their words a bit more carefully. That is all.
  5. Visit  kaliRN profile page
    0
    Originally posted by RN2BDFW
    "I guess it didn't occur to me to call the police because in my town, the police come along with EMS, or did in this case, perhaps because it was a traffic situation? It was an officer I gave the information to about the car description. Honestly I didn't even know or question if police regularly come to EMS calls...this is my first experience ever with EMS."
    First off, I am sorry for ranting a bit on your post. I may have projected my own emotional reaction to the PP onto you. Guilt tactics are like salt in a wound for me. By dialing 911, you were likely "calling the police." In my region, any call made from a roadway is routed directly to the Highway Patrol and medical response comes when it is necessary. Roosevelt said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." That's what you did here. Now armed with new knowledge that you sought, you can respond more appropriately in the future. All the best in your studies and again, sorry for any projection.
  6. Visit  not.done.yet profile page
    2
    It is all good. There is a wonderful quote by Maya Angelou that I live by. "You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better". It helps a lot to not take on guilt that is not justified or warranted. I didn't know much but I definitely WANT to know more.

    I truly have learned a lot from this thread, so thank you to all
    CountyRat and canoehead like this.
  7. Visit  canoehead profile page
    0
    In all situations we are allowed to make mistakes, but the best of us learn from every mistake and do better.
    Ummm, that was pretty much Maya Angelou, come to think of it, with a little of George Bush's beer voice thrown in.
  8. Visit  TDCHIM profile page
    2
    If it makes a difference, I think it's admirable that you're doing your best to learn from the situation and your response to it. The vast majority of people would have driven by without a second thought, and most of those who would have stopped wouldn't have bothered to ask more knowledgeable people to critique their actions. Your instinctive desire to learn, to keep striving for improvement, will help you in any field or specialty you choose to pursue.
    CountyRat and not.done.yet like this.
  9. Visit  rn/writer profile page
    5
    Could be that all of the "impassioned ranting" and strong emotion are more in reaction to the driver and his willingness to endanger others than they are to each other.

    OP, you did well to come here and ask what else you could have done. This is a learning experience for everyone.
    CountyRat, EricJRN, kaliRN, and 2 others like this.
  10. Visit  Baloney Amputation profile page
    3
    Quote from rn/writer
    Could be that all of the "impassioned ranting" and strong emotion are more in reaction to the driver and his willingness to endanger others than they are to each other.
    This is it exactly. I'm sorry, OP, that I swung at everything while I ranted because of this dude's actions and the swings landed on you instead. You were essentially a passerby in this situation and even assessed his situation out of concern; you were in no way promoting his idiotic actions.
    CountyRat, kaliRN, and not.done.yet like this.
  11. Visit  kaliRN profile page
    2
    Originally Posted by rn/writer
    Could be that all of the "impassioned ranting" and strong emotion are more in reaction to the driver and his willingness to endanger others than they are to each other.


    Originally Posted by applescruffette
    This is it exactly. I'm sorry, OP, that I swung at everything while I ranted because of this dude's actions and the swings landed on you instead. You were essentially a passerby in this situation and even assessed his situation out of concern; you were in no way promoting his idiotic actions

    Same goes for me. I apologize applescruffette, as I seem to have been more reactive than the OP. This driver's selfishness is powerfully offensive, so an equally powerful reaction ensued. Sometimes when one comes out "swinging," their blows are poorly targeted and wild. I have a clearer picture of your intent after this post.

    It's tremendously disheartening that people like this driver so blatantly put the lives of others at risk. I met a woman once, who had totaled two cars and severely damaged a third after falling asleep at the wheel. But for the grace of God, no one was every seriously injured. Knowing how hazardous and inane this behavior is and continuing it is unfathomable. It's enough to make any prudent and compassionate person irate. There was a deep part of me that wanted to know this man was stopped and prays that he was. I think everyone who posted felt the same.

    Thanks rn/writer for seeing this objectively. This was an unsettling post and this has let me take something more positive from it.
  12. Visit  carolinapooh profile page
    3
    I passed an elderly man once who was going eastbound in the westbound lanes of a major interstate. He was doing about twenty-five or thirty when I passed him (at this point, so was I, as you can imagine) and seemed completely oblivious. People were blowing their horns and blinking their lights, and he had this dazed expression on his face.

    I pulled off the road, called 911 (*HP in NC), described the car, gave a plate number, and even told the EXIT we'd just passed, AND told them a state trooper had passed me not five minutes before (and had gone off at another exit before I saw this guy) so I knew there was a car in the area, and they essentially told me I was an idiot. It took me four attempts to clarify the guy was going the wrong way up the interstate!

    I got the operator's name (they have to provide this information), reminded them the call was recorded, and flat-out told them I hoped to God I didn't see this man in a wreck on the news that night because I'd certainly be calling the cops directly.

    I have no idea what happened to him - I'm hoping the dispatcher finally got a clue and contacted the trooper - but I did watch the news that night and didn't see the guy on there.

    I'm an ex-cop and I'm answering as one.

    I applaud what you did - but I think that not opening the door until there was someone else there was the wise thing to do (even though that wasn't your thinking at the time). YOUR safety comes first - I don't care what the situation is.

    And you can't call the cops on this guy because: (1) they have other stuff to do, and (2) you can get nailed for slander if someone gets a wild hair and does pull this guy over and says they got a complaint. If the guy appears fine and isn't legally intoxicated or under the influence, you just harassed someone. So don't worry about anyone saying not calling back was the wrong thing, or whatever else along those lines you're getting flack for.

    Also - be sure the state you're living in has Good Samaritan laws that cover your actions in an emergency. If the state I'm in doesn't, I'm sorry, but I do nothing other than call the appropriate authorities. People can flame me for that and I honestly don't care. I have a house and a couple of very nice cars I'd like to keep, and I don't trust people anymore. The rabid and sue-happy few have created a dangerous world for everyone - it's no wonder people don't want to get involved anymore.

    With all that said, what I'm truly more concerned about is the fact that you really put yourself at risk here. People are nuts - he could have been high, an a&& who slugged you for interfering, he could have even pulled a gun on you or a host of other things. The most dangerous thing cops do is pull over cars or approach stopped vehicles. Whoever said you should have called 911 BEFORE you got out of the car is my hero - protect yourself first. Chances are the dispatcher would have stayed on the phone with you and talked you through what to do, and that's their job.

    On the other end, I applaud you for caring enough to make sure this guy was OK - and at the end of the day, no matter how embarrassed he was, I'm sure he was as well. I can't judge his motives (or his obvious bad choice) because God knows I've been behind the wheel when I was actually too wiped out to be there - and I've been lucky in that I've hurt no one, least of all myself, when I've done it.

    Just be very, very careful and keep in mind that people are crazy.
    Last edit by carolinapooh on May 16, '10
  13. Visit  MissBrn profile page
    0
    Maybe he has narcolepsy. Sounds crazy but I thought I heard that you can have narcolepsy and still have a drivers license.

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