Saturday started off as any typical day in the emergency room. Patients with high acuity levels coming in through EMS and triage like a revolving door.
A couple of hours into the shift we hear it, the dreaded sound, the overhead call that alerts the hospital of a code and the location. Within the ED, we learn to pause long enough to hear where the code is and if needed, we respond to it. The code was called within our ED.
I was in triage that day and I told the triage nurse I was going to check to see if they needed help with chest compressions. When I got back to room 18, I realized they would need my assistance.
The patient that coded was a man who had been here for a short time, came in talking and answering questions. That is the hardest codes of all for us.
As we worked the code for a very long time, I could see the compassion in the faces of my coworkers who desperately wanted this man's heart to start beating again. Everyone was working hard and doing anything they could to save this man's life.
Outside of the room, our coworkers were helping as well. There were several people trying to contact family members as he came in alone.
As I was doing compressions on the patient, nurse Julie Etscorn, was next to me starting an IV and giving meds. Every time I looked down at the patient's hand, Julie was holding his hand during the entire code. She stayed by his side and stayed in contact with him until the physician called the code. That is why I am nominating her for the DAISY Award. I am tearing up now as I recall how meaningful that was.
Julie made it possible for this man not to die alone. There are no real words that I can say to describe how much that means, knowing that patient's family will have some peace of mind. The emotions that I felt when I saw her holding this man's hand that had no family there with him were unreal. I felt pride that I work with such an amazing nurse, who shows love and compassion for a patient. I am not sure if anyone else in the room noticed her holding his hand but that gesture will forever remain in my mind and heart. I believe that in the big picture of nursing, that this is what nursing is all about. I am so thankful to have Julie as a coworker and I am proud to be in the ED with all the amazing compassionate nurses.
I spoke with the patient's son on the phone to go over the details of the event and what we needed to do next. He was out of town and upset that he could not be there. He was so thankful to the staff for caring for his father. He asked me to speak to his sister who is an ER nurse in Baltimore. She was informed of the actions we took to revive her father and broke down when I told her about nurse Julie Etscorn holding her father's hand during the entire time. All of his family was very thankful for the care given to their father and that the staff took the time to comfort their father during this time.
The family came to the ED two days later to thank the staff. The daughter stated that she did not know if the staff in her ER would have taken the time to comfort a patient during a code. She informed one of our staff members that she was now going to "pay it forward" by being more caring to her own patients.