RN responsibility--how far do you go in being a first responder?

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by wannabecnl wannabecnl Member Nurse

Specializes in PACU, presurgical testing. Has 4 years experience.

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xtxrn

xtxrn, ASN, RN

4,266 Posts

They could be seizing, choking, cyanotic, vasovagal... All things that we can help with (without supplies), at least until EMS arrives. If not anything else, call 911 and make sure they are out of harms way.

When I was fairly new, I was out and about in town- no car so took the bus.... there in the middle of the road, halfway UNDER a cab, was one of the frequent fliers from the neuro floor- poor thing had a seizure in the street. I did take time to lug that one off to the side so she wouldn't get plastered into the pavement... The poor cab driver was almost next- he didn't know what happened - just saw some woman walking funny in the road- then she was under the cab (he did not hit her- never did figure that one out- guess she rolled). At any rate, the ambulance showed up (before cell phones, so someone ran to a nearby business) and they're like "oh, hey Mabel" (or whatever her name was- don't remember)-- evidently they knew her well also :)

SineQuaNon

SineQuaNon, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in ED, Family Practice, Home Health. Has 15 years experience. 35 Posts

I would stop, and have, on numerous occasions. True there isn't much I can do without my hospital supplies, but often the most important thing is just to tell someone NOT TO MOVE. Even after pretty bad accidents with open fractures and lots of blood, I've seen the injured try to get up and walk. In addition to that I can clear airways, stabilize c-spine, and apply pressure to bleeding wounds. I believe it's my moral obligation to assess the scene of an accident as a first responder to see if I can lend a life saving hand. Most often I visually scope things out from my vehicle and drive by without stopping. Obviously if EMS is already there I leave them to do their job, but if they're not, and I can be of aid, then I do so.

Sehille4774

Sehille4774

236 Posts

I have a keychain CPR mask I carry with me at all times now..in case i am at the mall and someone would happen to collapse in front of me :)

I think most times if there are trained people already on the scene, then you are just one more person in the way..and in emergency's that I think the best thing you can do for the patient is let the EMT/first responders do their job and stay out of the way!

Good thread!

OhioCCRN, MSN, NP

Specializes in SICU. Has 11 years experience. 572 Posts

Forgive me....

Lets not do heroics etc....

As a previous poster put it, leave it to the professionals who have had TRAINING!!!

Stay out of their way and call 911...

This is not LOST or Off the Map.

Because of your lack of emergency training, you may end up doing more harm that good!

~Mi Vida Loca~RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience. 5,259 Posts

Came upon a wreck just last night. Live out in the country and the area is generally very very safe. Two mangled cars, everyone appeared out and walking, one cop present only and he seemed calm. As I drove by, rolled my window down, identified myself as a nurse and asked if he needed any help. He thanked me, replied everyone OK and back up on the way - so I drove on home.

My 15 year old son sitting next to me commented that he thought that was nice of me to do but questioned why I did it. As I told him, if it was you sitting along the side of that road I would hope that someone would stop and help you if you needed it. I believe you get what you give in this world. I agree with others - don't be a hero, just offer a hand if needed.

I am the same way. Sometimes I don't think things through (stopping while a crackhead guy was beating on his crackhead girlfriend and getting in the middle to try and help her and take him on when I was 18) and my friends will chastise me that I am going to get myself killed one of these days. But that's just me. I grew up wishing someone/anyone would step out of their comfort zone and help. I had a boyfriend beat on me in public when I was pregnant and people would turn their heads or tell me stop making it worse by having such a sharp tongue. Used to pray that someone would get involved when I was a kid. So to me, their is no hesitation, if it looks like someone is in trouble, I will do whatever I can to help. If it bites me in the butt later then so be it. At least I know I tried. I also always think what if that was one of my loved ones and no one wanted to help for whatever reason and that could be the difference between them living and dying.

~Mi Vida Loca~RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience. 5,259 Posts

Forgive me....

Lets not do heroics etc....

As a previous poster put it, leave it to the professionals who have had TRAINING!!!

Stay out of their way and call 911...

This is not LOST or Off the Map.

Because of your lack of emergency training, you may end up doing more harm that good!

It's not about playing heroics. Any time I have came open a situation where I could help I never stopped to think about how I could be a hero. In fact, I don't want any attention from it.

We do have emergency training. We can start BLS. We can apply pressure to a bleed. Their are many things that we can do that we have been trained to do and if you have worked in emergency situations you have even more training. I am not going to go onto a scene and give a make shift chest tube, and crack a chest to massage a heart. I would work within my scope of practice. But their are many things I am professionally trained to do that can help in an emergency situation. I personally would have a hard time dealing with the aftermath emotions of not helping.

If it's your choice to not respond, then by all means, don't. But lets not put down those that do by comparing their actions by trying to be a hero and wanting to be like on TV.

I am sure if you (generally speaking) where in an emergency situations and the difference between life and death was a matter of me stopping to give you CPR until EMS arrives, you would want me to be heroic and try to help save your life.

xtxrn

xtxrn, ASN, RN

4,266 Posts

I am the same way. Sometimes I don't think things through (stopping while a crackhead guy was beating on his crackhead girlfriend and getting in the middle to try and help her and take him on when I was 18) and my friends will chastise me that I am going to get myself killed one of these days. But that's just me. I grew up wishing someone/anyone would step out of their comfort zone and help. I had a boyfriend beat on me in public when I was pregnant and people would turn their heads or tell me stop making it worse by having such a sharp tongue. Used to pray that someone would get involved when I was a kid. So to me, their is no hesitation, if it looks like someone is in trouble, I will do whatever I can to help. If it bites me in the butt later then so be it. At least I know I tried. I also always think what if that was one of my loved ones and no one wanted to help for whatever reason and that could be the difference between them living and dying.

I'm so sorry you went through all of that. And got told it was your fault. :(

I hear ya here....guess I got reluctant because of my experiences. If I SEE something happen, that's different.... but I don't trust things to be as they appear...too many horror stories. I've lived through enough...not proud of that- just in survival mode.

When I was at work, however, I was a pit bull re: my patients and their families. NOBODY better hang them out to dry if they were in trouble. I had a visitor come directly from being discharged from ICU (had the scripts in his pocket)...and he started looking BAD- that waxy yellowish 'glaze' in his skin ("vanilla candle" color that no good comes out of). I had no clue who the guy was- just that he belonged to a resident (LTC). Had the receptionist call 911 (she loved listening to the scanner radio, so was in her element actually making the call- couldn't have been a better one to do it!). I stayed with the guy, got him on the floor, feet up, etc...EMS got there and hauled him away.

I've never walked away from anybody I've seen in public when it actually happened...just don't like the idea....:confused:

Edited by xtxrn
spelling- new system re-spells stuff...

~Mi Vida Loca~RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience. 5,259 Posts

"I hear ya here....guess I got reluctant because of my experiences. If I SEE something happen, that's different.... but I don't trust things to be as they appear...too many horror stories. I've lived through enough...not proud of that- just in survival mode."

I have had to live my life in survival mode too and I have also had a lot of experiences and seen a lot. But for me it's affected me differently. If I was driving and saw someone on the side of the road looking really injured, I would stop and try to help. That's just me. I know people are shady and it's not always as it appears and so on and lord knows I have read way to many horror stories. But it's just a gut reaction and a chance I am willing to take.If I had a gut feeling that something was just off and my intuition was cluing me in, then I would probably react differently. But so far it hasn't happened like that and it was just something that after the incident I reflected on the situation and thought it might not have been the best decision. Of course that doesn't stop me from jumping in again.

Edited by ~Mi Vida Loca~RN

xtxrn

xtxrn, ASN, RN

4,266 Posts

"I hear ya here....guess I got reluctant because of my experiences. If I SEE something happen, that's different.... but I don't trust things to be as they appear...too many horror stories. I've lived through enough...not proud of that- just in survival mode."

I have had to live my life in survival mode too and I have also had a lot of experiences and seen a lot. But for me it's effected me differently. If I was driving and saw someone on the side of the rode looking really injured, I would stop and try to help. That's just me. I know people are shady and it's not always as it appears and so on and lord knows I have read way to many horror stories. But it's just a gut reaction and a chance I am willing to take.If I had a gut feeling that something was just off and my intuition was cluing me in, then I would probably react differently. But so far it hasn't happened like that and it was just something that after the incident I reflected on the situation and thought it might not have been the best decision. Of course that doesn't stop me from jumping in again.

Yeah, if it was obvious I'd more than likely help. I know I used to pray for help too....

~Mi Vida Loca~RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience. 5,259 Posts

Ugh I am doing extremely poor on the grammar and spelling tonight. (which is telling since I already suck at it) Affected, not effected, road/ not rode. Time to call it a night. Working 5 of the next 6 nights.

AJPV

AJPV

366 Posts

Good thread. One thing it's making me realize is how little we are learning in school about first aid & emergency nursing (even emergency nursing that is within our scope of practice). I'll be graduating RN school in a few months. Sometimes during clinicals I have moments when I wonder how prepared I would be if a patient collapsed or lost consciousness.

AngelicDarkness

AngelicDarkness

Specializes in geriatrics, IV, Nurse management. Has 7 years experience. 365 Posts

A friend recently went down to a local fire and offered medical help as an RPN. She said she felt better after knowing she helped. I've never had that experience but winters in Canada can be rough, and I slow down or pull over to check on people on the side of the road (either stuck or car troubles). Too cold to be waiting in a car that doesn't work for help.