Thursday, March 24, 2011


I needed to do my bi-annual re-newing in BLS (basic life support)this week.

Another experienced nurse and myself tried to figure out how many times we have attended these classes on CPR. We used to have to go yearly ~ now we go every other year. Plus in my department we are required to be ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) certified. We figured we have probably attended more than 18 classes on how to perform the first steps of saving a person's life. That is alot of re-newing. I'm not complaining. I think it is important that we, as professionals keep up our skills. Luckily, I don't have to perform CPR very often...but I could if I needed to! And they keep changing things as evidence shows things need to be change.

For years and years, we have practiced the ABC's of life support:
and the ratios of breaths to compressions for adults and children were different as well as one and two man CPR ratios.

Now the American Heart Association has come out with a new acronym...


Basically - you asses the patient, call for help and go straight in to giving heart compressions.
Once you have given 30 compressions - then you give 2 breaths.
The ratio remains 30 to 2 even if there are two people performing the CPR. That is so much easier to remember.
Studies have shown that we were wasting time in giving breaths in the beginning, for the patient probably still has oxygen in their system - so the premise is that you need to get that oxygen circulating - hence - straight in to the compressions. My brain can remember the 30:2 ratio so much better also. I don't have to thing about how old the person is, one man or two man...I just have to do the same ratio~

These little gadgets also need to be readily available:
Using an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) has shown to increase the chances of a person's survival. It is easy to use. You place the pads on the patient, the machine analyzes for the heart rhythm, tells you if a 'shock is advised' and walks you through how to give that shock. Often times this can put the heart back in to somewhat of a workable rhythm, buys some time until the paramedics can get there and hopefully shocks that person back to life. Any place where people gather really should have one. Gyms, schools, theaters, etc. I wonder if there is one at my church? Though I am hoping that I never have to use one while I am church!!

After I attending my class, I admitted a new patient in to our perinatal hospice program. Sometimes we go months without a referral, but lately we have always had a patient or two on service. We really need to hire a Spanish speaking nurse though. It is so hard to admit a mom using an interpreter, and the subject can be quite sensitive since you are talking about their baby's little life.
This particular patient has known loss before, and I am sure that she will be able to teach us a thing or two about how to love and care for a baby that is only expected to live for a short while. We gave her lots of information and set up our next appointment where we will work on her birth plan. We will offer as much support as we can. Hopefully she will find the program helpful and will have a better experience this time than she has had in the past.
My goal ~ to help her celebrate this little life....


Cartoon Characters said...

yes, it is difficult when the little ones aren't expected to live long. My heart goes out to those moms...

You sound like such a caring nurse, anyone would love to have you there with them! Love it!

Dana said...

I'm so glad the Mom in the perinatal hospice program has you for a nurse. It is nice that your hospital has such a program too. I feel so badly for her. I know people lose their babies everyday, but as someone who has lost 3, I know how they feel...a feeling I'd never wish on anyone. Have supportive and caring medical personnel helps alot. Both during the pregnancy, birth and after delivery, and in the months to come afterwards.