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Being the Nurse Outside Work

Being the Nurse Outside Work

Nicole Lehr | Scrubs Magazine

That nurse in the account I just recalled was me. The most difficult part about the entire experience was seeing the team pronounce the man dead after I had been pounding on his chest. I struggled with the thought that they should at least have the decency to load him up on a stretcher and take him off to the level 1 trauma center just down the street so I could have some feeling of hope. But in all reality, they have experience in knowing when a patient has a chance and when they don’t. And this man’s injuries were too extensive.

It took me about a year until I was able to turn right out of my house without grimacing when I passed that intersection. It took months before I stopped dreaming about that guy in the white t-shirt, and wondering if he left behind any kids of his own. It took weeks before I stopped second-guessing everything I did that early morning and blaming myself for not being able to save him. It took days before I could be in a room by myself without feeling uneasy. It took hours of crying to get past the fact that I just witnessed a horrible and unpredictable death.

But it only took seconds to muster the strength to kneel at his side and perform nurse-like duties to this stranger in front of my house. Now, two years after the incident, I can honestly pride myself in the efforts I took to save that man’s life. Although the outcome was highly unfavorable, it gives me confidence to know that I have the strength to respond to an emergency even outside of my comfort zone of the hospital. I hope to never find myself in a similar situation again but there is some resolution in knowing that I have that experience behind me to learn from, and there is a certain strength to gain from that.

Is a scenario like this one that is practiced or rehearsed in school? Absolutely not. But I quickly learned that morning that the letters R.N. after my name extend much further than just through the halls of the hospital.

Has anyone found themselves in a situation outside of the comfort of the hospital?

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