first pedi code

  1. evening everybody... need to let this out... I went to work today as a student nurse and I saw my first pedi code. adults I have seen many times and I am not bothered afterwards, but when I got in the car today after work I bawled like a baby. Tell me it gets better with time. At work I kept my composure but then all hell broke loose. They ended up taking the baby to another hospital. We did everything that we could and I know that. When you see a code come in and they are elderly you know that they have lived a full life but how do you deal with this when they are only 3mo old. any suggestions? thank you
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    About laurainri

    Joined: Feb '06; Posts: 137; Likes: 15
    ED RN; from RI
    Specialty: ED


  3. by   dawn30
    That's not something that you'll ever get used to. And... if you do, it's time to change your line of work. You'll always be affected by codes. Even elderly codes still get to me. Peds are worse but they all have an impact on you. Part of being a nurse is having empathy not only for the patient but also the family... and sometimes that means sitting in your car on your lunch break and crying your heart out for them then going back in there and treating your next one as well as you treated the last. Hang in there.
  4. by   Captain Tripps
    You know I guess I am a little backwards on this issue. Yes pedi codes are tough. Yet somehow my heart is more broken by elderly codes, especially ones we call on scene.

    It is heart breaking to tell someone who has shared their life with someone for 50-60 yrs that their loved one is gone. The looks on their faces, the idea that tonite for the first time in years they are going to bed alone. Their life is gone as they knew it. It's also worse because it is usually sudden.

    It is even worse when it is a women who has passed. Men expect to die before their wives, many are completely lost without their wives. I was glad that my father passed before my mother. He would of had no life without her. My parents were married 53 yrs and they never spent a night apart. I often see them when I have to break it to a family member their spouse is gone.

    The toughest call I ever had was an elderly lady who started out aphasiac secondary to a probable CVA. She quickly crumped on me and arrested. While she was being worked in the ED I sat with her husband who had no family. I sat with him until the chaplain finally made it down, 45 minutes later. I learned how they met, and heard all kinds of stories. I have always tried to keep a distance between myself and my patients, just for this reason. I still feel for him his stories were so wonderful. Even during his loss he was the nicest and sweetest guy.

    To the OP, everyone is right you will never get use to it. You shouldn't though, it reminds us all we are not immortal.

  5. by   bill4745
    Tell me it gets better with time
    It will never get better. I agree with Dawn30 - if it gets better, you need a new job. After a pedi code in my ER, there are a lot of seasoned docs, techs and nurses crying and hugging.
    There are many things in nursing you can get used to. This is not one of them.
  6. by   DDRN4me
    ((((((Lauriani)))))))You have received some great advice. I think that for a student you handled things exactly as you should have. Many seasoned nurses participate in a code and then fall apart in private. feel free to continue to seek help if you are having trouble coping with this! Many of us think we should be strong and handle things like this without help..NOT!!! we are caring, compassionate human beings... and need to take care of ourselves too!! Mary
  7. by   Sabby_NC
    It shows you are a compassionate person and will do well in nursing.
    You are going to see so much that will tear at your heart but in time I am sure you will develop more coping mechanisms.
    Life is fraught with these occurances in nursing.
    Look after yourself is the first thing. Try to talk to a counselor or work mate and allow yourself healing time.
    Some things in nursing will never get better but it is how we adjust and absorb all in a healthy way.
    You were there, you were all trying to save that baby. You are doing what you are meant too.
    Hang tough Lauriani.
  8. by   traumaRUs
    All codes are difficult - which is how it should be since we value life. Its okay to cry afterwards. Its okay to seek counseling or vent with your co-workers too. You do have to have a coping mechanism when you see a lot of death in order to preserve YOU. This can be in the form of discussing and perhaps dissecting the code to ensure that it went smoothly and perhaps improve next time. It can be a religious or spiritual belief that allows you to know that they have not truly died, their spirits live on. It can be the thought that everyone has a time to die.

    I wish you the best as you learn how to deal with death. It can be very hard.
  9. by   nyapa
    Codes are horrible. I have only been involved in one paedi code. That day I was fine, but the next day I was a mess, and totally useless at work.

    I only share this to say that we all react differently. I really don't know if you get used to codes...I think you become more proficient over time, but I don't think the emotions change much.

    But seek counselling, talk with your educators, and share with others who may understand.
  10. by   vamedic4
    It doesn't get any easier, and even harder (for me anyway) when you have little ones at home that are anywhere near the same age.
    There's really nothing you can do, other than your very best, to help this child live through this event - and even then, the cards are stacked against you.
    Cry, and don't be ashamed. We're human, we have feelings. There's nothing at all wrong with that. Find someone to talk to about your feelings, too. A nursing instructor, counselor, trusted friend....

  11. by   laurainri
    Thank you so much for all your advice. It is really funny because I am known in school as the "tough one". Not in a physical way, just I guess I can come accross as unemotional. I tried talking to husband who is usually very understanding... didn't help. I am not a spiritual person AT ALL. I am hoping that when my preceptor comes in we can talk. I just know that this child is probally going to have permant brain damage BS was a 7, occulocephalic, multiple sz, WBC 33 and I think this is the hard part for me. Just because they are out of the area that you work in you always wonder if they will be allright and if there was anything else you could have done. Thank you again
  12. by   gam3rchic
    In nursing, but especially with codes, it's easy to fall into the "what could I have done more?" trap....don't do that to yourself b/c at the time you did everything you knew to do, and that's all you could've done. You did your best, now what will be will be.

    Since you are not a spiritual person, I really have no advice, except don't beat yourself up over it and don't think you'll ever become immune to the pain, unless you've become too cold-hearted to care anymore. Seek friends to share the experience with....sharing it here is a good start btw!

    Since I'm a spiritual person, that is where I draw my comfort from, b/c there is no other comfort to be found in such a tragic situation. Without my faith, I dunno how I would be able to deal with such terrible tragedies.
  13. by   ErNrsLynzzie
    Codes are never easy - period. I work in a Children's ER and we have codes almost daily. It's horrible, sad, and beats morale down something terrible. But, what i have seen is a togetherness among the staff. The chaplains are always willing to talk, my manager, other staff, everyone understands it's a horrible feeling. The one time I went outside and cried along, another nurse found me and was more upset i went and hid vs seeking out support. It's ok to cry, be angry, upset - whatever. But you do have to move on. The most important thing I've been taught is to be upset and get over it. Don't take it home or it'll stay with you and you won't be able to take care of your other patients. Never be ashamed of how you react, it's unique and special.
  14. by   SKQQTR
    If your hospital is PEDS well then you "will" be involved in Codes of children. I don't know that it gets easier, people/staff learn how to deal with it. It's okay to seek help, pray or just talk we are all different, I'm able to leave the hospital behind when I go home. In one sense Pediactric Codes are hard because you see the life ahead taken away. I worked a Trauma Center for a number of years and Pediactric Codes are hard on everyone. However, you must understand that almost all (healthy) PEDS Codes are respiratory so your chances of a save are pretty slim to start with, that really does not make it easier and the Doctors tend to run everything possible protocol and beyond when a child is involved. This is a good place to vent as many folks here have been there too.
    Last edit by SKQQTR on Nov 27, '07

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