A new nurse, with only two years of experience, Sara had just begun her evening shift. One of her patients, a physically fit male in his early 30’s, came to the Emergency Department complaining of chest pains that radiated to his back. He had no history of heart issues – or any health issues.
Sara's story: Celebrating nurses
Every year on May 12th the International Council of Nurses (ICN) sponsors International Nurses Day to spread awareness about the important role of nurses in improving patient care. In honor of International Nurses Day we celebrate nurses like Sara, whose training prepared her to save a life.
When Sara's patient began to deteriorate, her simulation-based training was put to the test.
When the patient entered the ED, he appeared to be in good health. He was joking, responsive, seemed physically fit. But, something didn’t add up. He was perspiring, his skin felt cool, and he started to turn gray. I immediately ordered an ECG, and the results told everything.
"I had seen this before."
Sara was the first to recognize that an ECG was critical.
“I had a near-identical situation as part of my simulation training. I left prepared to assert myself in a situation like this and manage the stress that can come with it.”
“I immediately engaged a safety measure we have in our protocol that allows us to call for a 12-lead ECG without a doctor’s orders,” Sara said. She soon realized that her patient was on the verge of a catastrophic cardiac event.
Teamwork in action
“When we realized that the patient was on his way to a massive code, suddenly our entire team was engaged. A paramedic connected the ECG, a nurse ordered blood work, another established an IV. It happened just as I had experienced in our simulations, everyone performing their assigned roles.”
I knew every moment was critical. But I’m amazed at how calm I was. I was the new nurse on the team. And, I’m probably a little shy. But, my simulation training taught me how and when to be assertive for the benefit of the patient and the team. It also taught me how to manage stress. I wasn’t quite satisfied with my first day of simulation, so I asked to go back for more.
Simulation training for improved patient safety
Across healthcare, simulation is being used not only to teach clinical skills, but to teach critical thinking, leadership, and teamwork skills—the very skills exhibited by Sara to save her patient.
Thank you, Sara!
Sara’s story illustrates how simulation is being used in healthcare today to instill patient safety as a mindset. We would like to thank Sara and nurses like her who contribute to improving patient safety around the world.
Earlier this year, our CEO, Tore Laerdal, declared Laerdal's commitment to achieving zero preventable harm. Hear what he had to say.
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