Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Are you ready for a cardiac arrest?

  • Comments (4)

Inevitably nurses in some areas such as cardiac care and casualty are more ready than others. Are you ready for such an event? 

Months and even years can go by in some wards and departments without the resus trolley and equipment being used. But it can happen.

Someone can have a cardiac arrest in the street and passersby will do all they can to help. The more widespread availability of portable defibrillators – in major railway stations for example — is helping improve survival rates.

Anyone having a cardiac arrest in a healthcare setting – a hospital, outpatient department or GP surgery stands a far better chance of survival. But that does depend on appropriate response from staff on hand.

Every nurse needs to have a good understanding of what is in the resus trolley and how to use it – wherever they work. This familiarity and skill will help to save lives. Of course some specialty areas see far fewer patients in cardiac arrest each year. But the risk is always there and nurses need to be prepared.

To that end we have just published a two-part series on the cardiac arrest trolley. Part one details  at the equipment in the trolley to maintain airway management and breathing while part two focuses on circulation and in particular the drugs used in emergency situations.

Don’t wait until it is too late to make sure you and your resus trolley are up to date.

  • Comments (4)

Readers' comments (4)

  • Anonymous

    Is Ms Godfrey firmly planted in the present day ?

    If so perhaps she can tell us where this "casualty" is to be found !

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nursing Times

    Thanks for your comment.

    The terms A&E, Emergency Department and Casualty are generally interchangeable.

    This is a blog not an academic piece of writing and it is clear what is referred to. Hopefully readers will be absorbing the point behind the piece, which is more important than the semantics.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Have things changed so much?
    Whether used or not cardiac arrest trolleys were checked very day and ward briefings included revision of procedures at monthly intervals for all staff and repeated for all new members of staff.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Revision of procedures at monthly intervals? Please can I know who your employer is - I'd like to work for them. I had to self-fund my resus training in my own time.

    Having said that, my most recent role was one where we attended all the cardiac arrest calls on-site. I don't think it necessarily altered my practical skills, but it did improve my awareness of the overall situation (so I could 'think as well as do' - look at the situation rather than just make myself busy with chest compressions or bloods etc), what roles people preferred to take up so felt more co-ordinated despite no huge discussions, but also the adrenaline rush became less as became more 'normal' - not to extent sense of emergency lost, but so that could also care for relatives/staff alongside patient.
    I can remember the fear factor when encountering my first cardiac arrests as a student - my mentors encouraged me to stay and take on a role such as documenting what drugs given/times etc that felt 'safer' but kept me there.
    Also, as a more senior member of staff I've seen ward staff metaphorically 'run away' as soon as the arrest team arrives. I can't tell you the value of having a member of staff (whatever band) who knows the patient (as well as clinically, re next of kin, what person would want in this situation etc), saw what happened or knows the ward so can put their hands on a piece of equipment not on the trolley in seconds (A health care assistant who puts stores away is worth their weight in gold), or who has the wits to close curtains/support any other patients in the same bay.
    To anyone who feels overwhelmed/scared by unfamiliar (to them) situation - stay, watch, learn, & remember that even if you feel out of your depth practically as soon as team gone into ALS mode, you are one of the most useful people there. If you feel able, after things have settled, ask to go through what happened with one of the team as a debrief.
    I'll never forget my first cardiac arrest as a student - I'd spent the whole day with the lady, escorting her to scans etc, then she arrested just before home time & died. Possibly partly as had talked to her/felt I had got to know her during the day, the thing that hit me hardest was the lack of dignity - the lady become a fully exposed 'Resusci-Annie' equivalent rather than a person. I left the ward & burst into tears - fortunately I had a tutor who took me for a drink & managed to turn that around into the positives about what that said re my care/attitude to patients. Having said that, I'm still the one that as soon as can will be finding a pillow case to preserve dignity!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.