Here’s what I think.
The ability to save lives is kind of like having a super power.
a really cool super power that’s a lot more practical than being invisible or controlling the weather.
Here’s what everyone should know about CPR:
1. If you know how to do CPR, you can save lives. Obviously.
But listen. According to this website, 88% of cardiac arrests occur in the home. And when you consider that a person only has 10 minutes or less until death occurs without CPR, it makes you think, right? It’s comforting to know that, should the worst happen, you can do something about it.
2. If you know how to do CPR, you won’t be surprised when your very first compression creates some popping/cracking noises. See, ribs aren’t meant to bend the way you’re making them bend, but it’s normal. It’s part of the process. It’s going to happen, so it’s best if you aren’t startled when it occurs. I’ve taken care of patients who have survived a code situation and they do complain of their chest hurting from CPR, but they’re alive to complain about it! Besides, we nurses can be generous with our pain meds, so compress away!
3. If you know how to do CPR, you’ll know that it can be a killer ab workout. Working on those manikins can be a workout! But the first time I performed compressions on an adult male in the ER setting, I woke up the next morning with burning abdominal muscles. It’s kind of awesome.
4. If you’ve been trained in CPR, you’ll know that hands-only is an option. An option that I would probably take advantage of if I came across an unconscious person out in the community. In the hospital, we have an assortment of barriers to use so we aren’t doing that ‘mouth-to-mouth’ bit. Unless you’re a friend or family, there’s a good chance I’ll be uncomfortable giving you breaths, so hands only can be a beautiful thing.
5. Even if you know how to do CPR, it doesn’t mean you won’t freeze. Like the time I had my first patient code on me. But once you recover from the shock of it, the training you’ve received will kick in and you’ll be able to use that super power you’ve been saving for a rainy day.
6. If you’ve performed CPR, you’ll know that it doesn’t always work. There are so many factors that have to be taken into account when it comes to saving a person’s life, but CPR is the foundation of it all. Everything else just builds on top of it, and knowing the basics is so important.