Can't Handle Codes-Please Help

This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Cookie Monster Cookie Monster 1 year, 1 month ago.

  • Author
  • #71126 Reply
    Fit Nurse
    Fit Nurse

    Hey all,

    I don’t really know what to do. I have been working in the ED for four weeks and I am still on orientation. This is my first job as a nurse and I have always wanted to work in the ER, but I am having a problem with codes. I just don’t think I could handle running one.

    I have observed a few since I’ve been here because I work at a very busy hospital, but I completely freak out and I feel like I can’t even breathe. My legs get weak and I feel like I am about to pass out. Blood doesn’t scare me, but what scares me is that I won’t be able to remember everything I need to do. It also upsets me so much when someone dies. I have lost sleep thinking about the people I have seen take their last breaths.

    Knowing that they’re someone’s mother or father and someone’s child. It’s so heartbreaking. How do I keep it together and still be able to run a code when I can’t remember everything because I am so nervous. I’m scared I will do something wrong and someone will die because of me.

    My hands shake so badly that I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I don’t want to speak to anyone at work about it because I don’t want them to know. Is this something I will get better at?

    Or should I quit and move to something else?


  • #71127 Reply

    Mommy Dearest

    Gosh hon,

    You really are a nervous wreck. Perhaps ER nursing isn’t for you. If this is your first job as a new nurse then it could be that you just have a lot to learn. Watch more codes and see if you can get more of a feel for it.

    During your breaks check out the crash cart and familiarize yourself with everything in. Ask questions if you don’t know what something is. If you have only been in the ER for 4 weeks I would say that it’s too early to tell whether you should just look for a different specialty, or that you just need more orientation. ER nursing and OR nursing are the longest orientations, so try to be patient with yourself.  I would give it at least six months before you make a decision or whether to stay or not

    Keep us posted honey

  • #71128 Reply
    Kristin Powell
    Kristin Powell

    I know when I first started in the ED I was nervous. But it sounds like you’re having panic attacks from your description and that’s a bit much. You should be nervous, but not to the point that you are almost paralyzed with fear…that’s not normal.

    The ED isn’t for everyone. You have to be really thick-skinned to survive and even then it’s not easy.

    I would really ask yourself if you think that more orientation will make a difference and only you know the answer to that question.

    Working in the ED is like anything else in like. You can’t worry about what could happen before it does. You just have to do your due diligence and then hope for the best. If you are so incapacitated with anxiety that you run the risk of doing something stupid that would put a patient at risk then I think you need to find something else, outside of the ER, OR and ICU

  • #71129 Reply
    Risky Business
    Risky Business

    You really need nerves of steel to be an ED nurse. If you don’t then the ED probably isn’ t the place for you. You may just have to move on to something that requires less critical thinking.

  • #71130 Reply
    Cookie Monster
    Cookie Monster

    This is going to take some serious soul searching for you. You need to figure out if you can handle a very serious specialty. You need to figure out what it is exactly that is scaring you so much that you feel like you can’t be an ED nurse after wanting to be one so badly. may take some real soul searching on your part, about if you are willing to give ICU a chance or think you can swing it.

    If it’s just the practical skills side then that will improve and there are many things you can to do help your skills improve. But if you think you can’t do it emotionally because you are having panic attacks then I would say move on. But this is very early in the game for you. Try to stick it our if you think you can. You may be glad you did. If you do give up then just know what you are not the first and you certainly won’t be the last nurse that couldn’t handle the ED.

    Good luck to you@

  • #71628 Reply

    Only a Nurse

    Join to connect with nurses in the same specialty as you. It’s fun and FREE. Takes just s few minutes to register and become part of this great community.

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