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Each year I plan, organize, and participate in the medical coverage for a marathon. Nurses, physicians, and emergency medical service providers come together for several hours to serve as a safety net for the runners. The event has a festival atmosphere, and members of the medical team enjoy the opportunity to provide care outside their usual setting. At the same time, we have a constant and heightened awareness that all manner of emergencies can strike in the space of a heartbeat-or, as the case may be, the lack of one.
So when the call came at the finish line, we were there with our experienced team, our equipment, and our skills. Rapid assessment, outstanding CPR, and effective application of an automated external defibrillator saved the life of a runner who nearly finished his race...permanently. We saved a life. I wanted to scream it from the rooftops-We saved a life!!
You'd think that after all this time in emergency services I'd be a little less excited here. After all, it's easy to brush off the wonder of saving a life with the grounded sense that we were only doing our jobs...just doing what was expected of us. But this is a life. We can't forget the magic of that. We gave a husband back to his wife, a father back to his children, and a world of future potential to a human being.
When you really think about it, a whole host of people and circumstances made that save possible. We saved a life because several individuals came together as a team that day to meld their expert knowledge and skills in an emergency. We saved a life because we flawlessly applied the science developed over the course of years by myriad medical researchers and device manufacturers to restart a heart. We saved a life because at some point long ago each of us made a decision to enter the healthcare field and learn the healing arts from teachers who showed us the way. We saved a life because circumstances-divine intervention, perhaps-brought that runner to a place in front of people who could help him.
What inspires you to thrive amid the challenges we all inevitably face in nursing? For me, like many of you, it's a good dose of knowing that I've made a positive impact in someone's life. And giving a life back to someone who's lost it prematurely is the ultimate reward.
Until next time-
Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN
Vice President, Emergency, Trauma, and Aeromedical Services
Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del.
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