What are the dangers of hyperbaric nursing?

  1. Hi all,

    I'm considering an RN position in hyperbaric medicine, and I'm trying to research all of the risks associated with it. Is the nurse always in the chamber with the patient? Are there limits on how many treatments we do in a day? Has anyone suffered oxygen toxicity as a result? Or other side effects? Someone in a previous post mentioned fires -- how common are they?

    Also, this seems to be very physically and mentally demanding... Are hyperbaric RNs well compensated? I hate to ask for specifics, but would really love to know.

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    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 1


  3. by   gradcare
    Just starting myself, froom the course material the risks are identical to those of the patient, action is taken to minimise risks such as going on 02 at certain times to reduce risk of decompression illness but staying off the O2 during most of the dive to prevent O2 toxicity, can worsen myopia ( I think). A heap of other stuff that is looked at durring the physical.
  4. by   Balder_LPN
    hmmm, I'm a new nurse and not yet certified in this area (though I will be doing it after I complete my RN in 2010) I did, however, start teaching SCUBA in 1989 and have had a few familarization trips in chambers.

    My own concern, and I need to research it more, would be about chronic effects of pressure on the body. You are in the chamber day after day, the patient is only recieving a one time course of treatment (I dont mean just one trip in the chamber, but the pt is done in a matter of hours, days, weeks max) you may be doing it for years.

    Professional divers (not speaking to recreational scuba, but commercial divers that do deep dives day after day, or urchin harvesters who do loooong dives at shallow depths on consecutive days) do have higher incedence of a few things; bone necrosis, retinal and kidney damage. Most likely related to Asymptomatic Decompression Sickness. This is small nitrogen bubbles (and associated clots that form around them), but you don't have symptoms of DCS. With chronic exposure the bubbles/clots are believed to damage some of the areas in the body with the largest amount of capilarries/small vessels. In doppler U/S tests of divers up to 30% may show bubbles in the blood with no symptoms (asymptomatic DCS) after dives that are within commonly accepted no decompression limits.