On the very last day of my CCT externship, I shadowed Calvin Burke, a crisis nurse. The day was fairly uneventful for the first several hours as we rounded the hospital seeing if anyone needed anything. Toward the middle of the shift, a trauma was announced over the intercom; it was outside the ED. Calvin’s pager went off, and we began running.
When we got there, we were told it was outside near the front entrance. Calvin grabbed gloves on the run and yelled for a gurney. We happened to bump into the PICU fellow, so Calvin told him to come with us. We ran outside to the main car entrance, and as we approached I saw a crowd of people around a man who had been stabbed and collapsed on the ground. Calvin jumped in and directed someone to begin CPR, then asked if an ambulance was on its way. The PICU fellow then stepped in as the team leader and began directing. Calvin ensured that the CPR was being done correctly and rotated people taking turns until the PICU fellow was able to take over. Calvin then started finding people nearby to try and piece together what had happened and ask if anyone knew the man involved.
As a CCT /nursing student without any trauma experience, it was a whirlwind of adrenaline and intensity. I’d never seen care for a trauma played out, and I’d never been in a situation where CPR was required. Once everything calmed down and the man was taken by ambulance to another hospital, Calvin answered any questions I had and explained his role.
When we returned to the staffing office, everyone was asking us about the event and checking on me to see how I was handling it all. It was impressive to me to have witnessed Calvin acting as the leader for much of the emergency response, and to know that everything he did was exactly what we learn in nursing school.
We, as nurse students, are trained and expected to be able to employ those skills and leadership should the need arise. Calvin never panicked, knew exactly what to do, and he did it without hesitation. It was an incredibly educational experience; it was amazing to have the opportunity to see great team dynamics and BLS care provided in a high-intensity situation. All the steps and protocols I saw play out were concepts I learned throughout nursing school. However, to see this implemented in real life, especially in what felt like crazy circumstances, on an adult, outside of a children’s hospital where the expectation is that one will be caring for children, was an entirely different way of learning. The experience of that day is something I won’t forget, and it gave me an opportunity to see a side of nursing I wasn’t expecting.