It’s a sound that rings through your ears and your heart momentarily stops. You think to yourself “OMG, is it real?” No matter what time of day, no matter what you are doing, you are always on alert for THAT sound….. the one that makes your heart race, jump to attention and head in whatever direction it is coming from.
Fortunately for me, working in a Children’s Hospital, more often than not the arrest buzzer is set off by mistake because a parent has leaned on it, pushed it thinking it was the regular nurse call bell or because a sibling has wondered what that red light does when you push it! However, on those days when the arrest buzzer goes off and it’s for real, not only do we deal with whatever situation we find whether it be a respiratory arrest, seizure or other emergency, the shrill cry of a scared parent often follows.
In fact, not only does the adrenalin kick in and we do whatever is required to help the child in question, we are also instantly aware that a child’s mother, father, relative etc who is at the bedside wants to know how we can fix this. As in any area of nursing, we do all that we can and then we help the parents in any way possible before we then look after ourselves.
Looking after the nurses after a situation where resuscitation is required cannot not effect you in one way or another. Some people go for a cigarette, some people need to talk then and there, some choose to discuss it at home and others need a more formal debriefing of a situation to know that regardless of the outcome, we did the best we could.