Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Saving Lives

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Saving Lives

Article excerpt

From the Editor

RECENTLY, BOTH MY HUSBAND AND HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO "SAVE A LIFE." Although the circumstances were very different - his lifesaving experience involved convincing a young child to jump from the second-story window of the burning house next door and mine required the use of the Heimlich maneuver - the thoughts and feelings that resulted for each of us were similar.

My experience took place in a busy restaurant where several dozen people were leisurely dining on a weekend afternoon. As the waitress frantically called for "a doctor or a nurse," I was seated with a retired registered nurse whom I had just met at the lunch. Both of us rose to service. I did not once doubt her skills, for as nurses we expect certain skills of one another, and I had instant flashbacks of other emergency situations in which everyone did his or her part to save the patient's life. My memories of emergency interventions as a medical-surgical staff nurse were part of my distant past.

This recent experience as a lifesaver, helping an older woman with multiple sclerosis who had choked on a piece of food, has provided a renewed identity for me as a nurse. In an earlier phase of my career, as an expert in suicide prevention, I thought of myself constantly as a professional lifesaver. But my career took many other turns, and lifesaver was an identity that I lost along the way of professional development. Now that I think of myself as a lifesaver once again, I realize that this is a positive identity for me. …

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