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

by not.done.yet Guide

3,787 Views | 26 Comments

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 at lunch and we saw a car going... Read More


  1. 4
    Please, please, please remember to keep yourself safe in these situations. Call 911,.then get out of the car.
    SWS RN, WondeR.N., not.done.yet, and 1 other like this.
  2. 0
    Quote from caliotter3
    I had a long commute to work at the wrong time of day, or should I say night, and caught myself routinely drifting off at the wheel, even swerving across four lanes of traffic. I was not surprised to find myself the center of attention of the Highway Patrol each trip after that for as long as I kept that job.
    You mean a police escort? Cool! (j/k) My stepdad fell asleep at the wheel twice-- the DMV had no choice but to take his license away. He was so depressed. Glad nothing horrendous happened to you.
  3. 1
    Quote from 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.
    Baloney Amputation likes this.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.


Top