Firsts in First Aid
When it comes to saving lives, every second counts. Even a single mistake or delay can be the cause of a friend’s prolonged agony or even a loved one’s death. Critical thinking and snap decisions must be made. Movements must be quick and certain. That is why in urgent situations where lives might be at stake, it is best to have trained professionals at hand to handle the whereabouts.
As nurses, we are trained to respond well and immediately at emergency cases ranging from a simple cut to as complicated as life threatening case scenarios. We have been equipped with basic life support and first aid concepts in nursing school and even more in trainings and seminars.
First things first
Sometimes, in emergency situations, one cannot help but panic. But as nurses, we must stay composed and address the problem as calmly as we can. By knowing what to do, we may ease up our tensions and may be able to concentrate on the problem more effectively. Here are some pointers on what first must be considered when rendering first aid.
- Assess/Evaluate the situation
Before making any move, it is best that you survey the situation first. You must check the danger and make sure that the scene is safe to enter. Remember that your safety is also important even in situations like this. You can never help another victim if you, too, become a victim. Check for signs of blood and other bodily fluids to determine what action is appropriate for the situation.
- Check A,B,C (Airway, Breathing, Circulation)
Assess the victim if the airway is clear or if he/she is breathing. Ask if he/she is alright. Tap him/her at the shoulder, saying, “Hey, hey, are you okay?”. If the patient is responding, and the airway is clear, you may ask him/her on how best you can help them with the injury. If the patient is unresponsive, ask for help from the bystanders to call Emergency hotlines. Check for the airway, open the victim’s mouth and check for any blockage. Then, check for breathing. Look for the rise and fall of the chest. You may also place your ears over the victim’s mouth and nose. If the patient is breathing, yet unconscious, turn him/her to the sides to prevent aspiration. If the patient still does not respond, check for the pulse.
- Ask for consent
If the patient is conscious ad responsive, ask for consent before performing any procedure. You can never do first aid without the consent of the person involved. In cases when the patient is unconscious and unresponsive, consent is implied.
- Protect yourself
Once the patient consented to you performing first aid, you need to consider the prevention of disease transmission. Put on gloves, especially when blood is concerned, before rendering care. You never know what kinds of diseases you may acquire from coming unprotected.
- Perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)
If the patient is unresponsive and unconscious, perform CPR. Make sure that he lies flat on the floor and that there are no debris beneath him to avoid further injury. Place the heel of one hand at the center of the patient’s chest and the other hand on top of it. Place 30 gentle thrusts, then give two breaths by tilting the victim’s head back and lifting the chin. Pinch the nostrils and blow firmly into the open mouth. Continue performing this until help arrives or until you become too exhausted to do so.
Failure to consider the basics and the first things to remember when rendering first aid can result to more damage than good. By not assessing the situation well, you may add more injury to the person. Failure of asking for consent could end up with you being charged with a lawsuit. And by not using protective gear, you could end up getting unwarranted diseases. It does not really take numerous credentials to save a life, but a certain amount of knowledge of what to do, a strong willed heart to do it and quick reflexes are enough to make a difference.