Would You/Do You Offer Assistance?

  1. I was just wondering this....Last night after ER I went to take my trash out to the dumpster and saw a 1st Responder and police car (standard when someone calls 911 here) in front of a neighbors house. As I was walking back from the dumpster, an ambulance was pulling up.

    My son said to me "You should go see if they need help!" and got upset when I declined. (He's 7 and very proud that his mother is a nurse and 'helps people stay alive and be healthy')

    Would/have/do you offer your help with EMS?

    I'm *not* talking about if you saw someone choking in the food court, pass out in Macys or witnessed an MVA. I'm saying you saw an ambulance (or 2 or 3) in front of a home, or pulled over on the road near an MVA, or similar.
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  2. 31 Comments

  3. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from KellNY
    I was just wondering this....Last night after ER I went to take my trash out to the dumpster and saw a 1st Responder and police car (standard when someone calls 911 here) in front of a neighbors house. As I was walking back from the dumpster, an ambulance was pulling up.

    My son said to me "You should go see if they need help!" and got upset when I declined. (He's 7 and very proud that his mother is a nurse and 'helps people stay alive and be healthy')

    Would/have/do you offer your help with EMS?

    I'm *not* talking about if you saw someone choking in the food court, pass out in Macys or witnessed an MVA. I'm saying you saw an ambulance (or 2 or 3) in front of a home, or pulled over on the road near an MVA, or similar.
    No, EMS is trained to properly handle this. Now, I have helped on an airline flight when they ask if there is a doctor or nurse onboard. I would help if I saw a car accident and people were laying on the highway and I was the first to see it. I would not help in your situation though.
  4. by   KellNY
    For the record-EMS here is 100% volunteer, and there is a major issue of response time. Because it's volunteer, most EMTs don't hang out at the station waiting for calls-they're at home, in bed, in their pajamas, eating dinner, etc, so that ads to the slower response time-often they have to get dressed and ready, then drive to the station, wait for the other person to show up, then drive to the scene together.

    And one thing that annoyed me when I'd talk to my friends who were EMTs--sometimes they'll intentionally wait a few minutes because the 1st one there gets stuck driving, and they don't want to drive.

    The 1st responder may have arrived up to 30min before the ambulance arrived.

    (which is not to badmouth EMS at all! Like i said, they volunteer their time and I respect and appreciate that. Many, if not most, are very good at what they do)
  5. by   Schatzi RN CEN
    I would definately offer help if the EMT's had not arrived yet, (or if it was a situation where there is more than one patient eg. car wreck). Having been an EMT befor becoming a nurse though, I have to say that after EMS has arrived at the scene, it is their job and they are well trained to deal with pre hospital stuff.
  6. by   Roy Fokker
    I think the 'volunteer' bit adds a different dimension to the picture.

    I prefer all volunteer crisis intervention groups.
    As such, I consider myself a "volunteer" as well - and if nothing else, I'd at least walk over and see if it wasn't too serious.


    So yes, I would respond.

    cheers,
  7. by   canoehead
    If there is at least one ambulance for every victim I consider myself in the way and move on.
  8. by   TrudyRN
    I would have gone over, maybe out of curiosity and wanting to please my son, but I think that since EMS was there you were not ethically required to go over.

    If I did go, I would not tell anyone I was a nurse.
  9. by   Grammie1
    As a Paramedic, myself, and former volunteer EMT I say that if the ambulance is on scene I am not needed for help in that way, but I may be needed to help with family members. If it is something outside my neighborhood I keep going, if it is someone I know I go to one of the MFR's that isn't busy and ask if the family needs anything. Sometimes they need a babysitter, a ride to the hospital for themselves when upset, sometimes a good hug, and sometimes nothing. If there is an entrance to the house that won't put me physically in the way, I use it.
    On the other hand, if the fire dept. is not really trained medically I may stop to see if they need help, though honestly, what am I going to do? If airway is being managed then there is nothing really to do. We should not give the patient any of his meds, unless aspirin or 1 more nitro and even the nitro is iffy without a blood pressure, we can't start an IV, intubate, etc. just as long as the airway is being managed.
    To be brutally honest, and remember, I'm finishing my nursing program so I'm not slamming nurses, about 3/4 of the calls I've been on where a nurse is on scene have been nightmares. Some have been fantastic and I've been really greatful, but....I have seen some of the most boneheaded "treatment" you can imagine. Again, if the family needs help or fire needs help, I'm there. Once an ambulance is there I back off and let those who are specifically trained for pre-hospital work do their thing.
  10. by   KellNY
    Quote from TrudyRN
    If I did go, I would not tell anyone I was a nurse.
    Just curious-but then what would be the point of going, other than to look (which I would not feel right about, just standing there and watching someone in such a stressful time)

    Grammie-I'd never give meds or anything like that. I was thinking an extra set of (trained) hands might come in handy to do mouth to mouth while they give breaths or vice versa, or apply pressure to a lac while they inserted an IV.

    If I saw a multiple car or multiple passanger MVA with only 1st Responder and/or only one ambulance, I like to think I'd pull over and identify myself as a nurse to assist them in any way.

    In no way would I ever try to run the show, step on toes, act like I know better or am smarter than EMS(I'm not, nor will I probably ever be, an ED nurse)
  11. by   KellNY
    Oh, and just to clarify-EMS and Fire Dept are two separate facilties/departments here. They're not interchangable or even housed in the same building.
  12. by   Grammie1
    Hey, KellNY, I know what your are saying, and yes if it were the situation you describe it would be appropriate. You don't have to apologize to me, though because I sure didn't take any offense to what you were saying. In our area the fire depts. are all seperate from EMS and all volunteer. They are very well trained and can handle most anything. However, sometimes they are really short handed and there were only a few people there and I thought it might be an arrest I absolutely would offer a hand This doesn't help you, you know, I say no and then yes. Ignore me, my family does! Actually, just use your own best judgement. As long as you are as sensitive as you seem to be, you would always be welcome on my scenes.
  13. by   JWEMT
    When I was working as a Emt my partner was a fresh out of school emt. And she couldn't get the patient's bp. but then the patient's daughter was like would you like some help, I'm a nurse. It's was kind of insulting to my partner. I understand it from the nurse's point of view but. Hello I'm alive here too. besides there's nothing you can really do on scene especially if there is already enough EMS personel there. I would actually find it harder to coordinate if there was a extra person there and i don't know their skills. Another thing, I don't know how up to date a person is, we Emts have a protocol we follow which is just information that we have to remember and apply. Nurses on the other hand has vast knowledge and sometimes they will forget things they haven't done in a while. Not every nurse practices what they learn in school. BUt otherwise Nurses are really helpful in the event of an immediate emergency and to the patient's family etc.
  14. by   DDRN4me
    I would go to be a comfort to my neighbor's family; not as a nurse. The EMT is trained for that . not me.

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