On this particular day I was a joint scrub with an ODP member of staff for a procedure.
The procedure in question was a rigid bronchoscopy, left VATS, with the potential to become a lobectomy and mini tracheostomy. It was intitally performed in a routine way with no complications experienced during the VAT. This was until tissue was being dissected from the bronchus and pulmonary vein.
Unfortunately, whilst the dissection was taking place the pulmonary vein was damaged and a major bleed occurred which could not be sufficiently dealt with whilst still performing a VATS procedure.
“The chest was opened followed quickly by the insertion of varying instruments to stop further blood loss”
I stepped down as quickly as possible in order for the qualified member of staff to take over. The chest was opened followed quickly by the insertion of varying instruments to stop further blood loss.
I was instructed to pull the emergency buzzer, which I did, carry the emergency drugs to the anesthetist and fetch numerous other things that were asked for such as saline, additional swabs and sutures, additional suction yankeurs and tubing, whilst maintaining their sterility and adding to the appropriate counts before starting to clean.
“She explained what I was feeling at the time was perfectly normal as it demonstrated substantial awareness of the gravity of the situation”
My mentor asked me if I was okay and although I couldn’t articulate myself accurately at the time I became flustered and once outside the theatre I started to cry. I was overwhelmed by my first experience of an acute event.
My mentor was incredibly supportive and explained that as a student I needed to be aware of my limitations. She said that considering this was my first exposure to main theatres and major bleeds I reacted exactly as I had been trained to do. She explained what I was feeling at the time was perfectly normal as it demonstrated substantial awareness of the gravity of the situation and responsibility that I would carry once qualified if I worked in this specialism.
“I have the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals, grow in confidence and trust my ability”
In spite of the difficult emotional circumstance, I am pleased I had the exposure prior to qualification as it has showed me the amount of support that is available in an emergency situation, which is reassuring. I have the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals, grow in confidence and trust my ability to act in the way that my training has taught, such as knowledge of emergency protocol.
“I was able to assist my colleagues in an effective manner during an emergency as well as remove myself from the environment when necessary”
I remained calm during the incident, which was was noted in my feedback. I was able to assist my colleagues in an effective manner during an emergency as well as remove myself from the environment when necessary, as I recognised my limitations. Before long my abilities will extend beyond the administration of adrenaline, the use of saline, vascular clamps and emergency sutures, and the next time I am sure I will be less scared and of even more help.
Laura Hodgetts is a current student nurse