As part of our last block of the semester, we are getting trained in ACLS, or Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support. It is an extension to our BLS (Basic Life Support) training, which involves CPR and using an AED. In a nutshell, we are learning what to do when a “Code Blue” is called on a patient, indicating that the patient needs resuscitation.
We have been having daily labs where we work in teams with the simulated patients. I have really enjoyed the course so far, but yesterday I had to be a team leader for one of the codes, which was pretty nerve-wracking.
Being a team leader involves delegating tasks, which I am actually pretty good it. But it also involves trying to figure out what to do, which is easier said than done. I managed to direct everyone to the correct tasks, such as delivering ventilation, performing compressions, or running the defibrillator. But when it came time for the next step – figuring out what could have actually caused the code and what labs to order – I really struggled.
All in all, though, I felt good about how I did and how our team performed. Luckily, I feel pretty relaxed around my team, and I know they wouldn’t judge me or laugh at me because we are all pretty clueless. That definitely takes the pressure off. And we performed a little better with each code.
It is definitely fun getting a taste of “real” medicine. I can already tell I will struggle with applying what I know to clinical scenarios. The doctor working with my team asked us a lot of questions – questions I should have known the answers to and probably could have gotten right on a multiple choice test, but that I couldn’t come up with on the fly. I just freeze when I get put on the spot, and I will definitely need to get over my fear of looking like an idiot before I start rotations.
But it is so encouraging to have physicians helping us and telling us that they were in our shoes once, and yes, they looked just as dumb as we did. We all have to start somewhere. I just can’t wait until I am in their shoes, where I actually know things and can make good clinical decisions for my patients that might just save their lives.