Clinical placements

Coping with an emergency as a first-year nursing student

Nursing student Victoria Brice was in her first year of training when she saw a woman having an epileptic fit on a bus. Her swift actions helped the patient get the care she needed and increased her confidence in coping with an emergency. 

Nursing student Victoria Brice was in her first year of training when she saw a woman having an epileptic fit on a bus. Her swift actions helped the patient get the care she needed and increased her confidence in coping with an emergency 


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After a 12-hour shift on my nursing placement, I was about to get on the bus when I saw a disabled man holding up a woman who appeared to be fitting.

Her eyes were rolling, her body was shaking and she appeared to be distressed. 

As he struggled to get her off the bus, I ran to help so she didn't fall and hit her head.

The man, who was her husband, told me she was epileptic and hadn't stopped fitting. Luckily, we were within the hospital grounds so I called for help and asked someone to grab a wheelchair.

Unfortunately, nobody seemed to hear me, so I went to the emergency department (ED) and informed one of the doctors what had happened.

Support

After a few minutes searching frantically for a wheelchair, I couldn't find one, so went back to the patient to support her the best I could. 

As we walked into the ED, the doctor I had spoken to previously told us to come straight to a triage room.

After carrying out some observations, we took the patient straight through to resuscitation, where the nurses and doctors started to treat her. 

I stayed with the patient to comfort her and explain where she was, while her husband spoke to the doctor. Her husband then thanked me for my help.

Thanked

The doctor also thanked me for my actions, then asked my name. I told him I was a first-year nursing student who had just finished a shift.

When I arrived for my next shift, the doctor had contacted the ward to let them know what had happened, and I was praised for my actions. 

This experience taught me that, although I was a first-year nursing student, my actions were still valued and I helped a patient who needed immediate assistance.

My training taught me to make sure the patient’s head was away from anything that could cause her injury, and I called for help and let staff in the ED know about the situation 

'Adrenaline was pumping'

It reminded me why I want to be a nurse. I am pleased that my actions got the patient to the ED quickly, and into resuscitation where she could get the care she needed.

Even though my adrenaline was pumping, I remained calm and focused on the needs of the patient and her husband. 

As a first-year student, you sometimes feel powerless, but this situation helped build up my self-confidence. Dealing with an emergency was something I was anxious about, but I learned that I could cope, and that I could deal with things in a methodical way. 


Victoria Brice is a third-year nursing student at the University of Surrey 

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