05.03 Remaining Calm

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Included In This Lesson



Staying calm during an emergency will help you have a better thinking process in order to analyze the situation with a clearer mind. When nurses freak out during an emergency it becomes toxic, staying calm sets the tone and it calms other people around you.

Nursing Points


  1. Staying calm during an emergency
    1. When entering the room
      1. Quickly assess the situation
      2. Call a code/Start CPR
      3. Trust your skills
      4. Know your role
      5. Do one job and stick with that one job
      6. Communicate without yelling or panicking
      7. Make sure there is one person giving orders- 1 leader giving orders
      8. Breathe and concentrate on your role
      9. Focus
    2. If the patient is not dead but circling the drain
      1. Use your resources
      2. Ask for help
      3. Do what you know works
      4. Think clearly


Hey guys, in this lesson we’re going to talk about staying calm during an emergency. So as nurses, we’ve all been there, we’ve all had that first patient code and we freak out. And you know what? It’s so hard to not freak out but remaining calm kind of makes it’s better. It helps because it gives you a better thinking process. You are able to think clearer. And because you’re able to think clearly you have a clear mindset, you can handle the situation a lot better. When nurses start freaking out, freaking out becomes toxic, then everybody is freaking out. And having a code with about six to seven people that are all freaking out is not a good thing. So staying calm sets the tone. If you can learn to calm other people down and you stay calm, others around you will try to stay calm as well. So set the tone.

Set the tone to try to remain calm during an emergency situation. So how do we do that? Well, let’s talk about that. Staying calm during an emergency quickly assesses the situation. And this again is a situation if a patient is coding, so you went to the room and you notice something is wrong, well you’re quickly gonna figure out do they have a pulse, are they breathing? Oh my gosh, what’s their blood pressure? Are they alive? Are they awake? Are they alert? Very quickly, this you can do on less than 60 seconds. Once you have you determined that and they don’t have a pulse call a code or a call a rapid response. If you haven’t listened to those, make sure you guys go back and listen to those lessons, but call a code or a rapid response and if they don’t have a pulse, start CPR until people come to help you. And at this point, this is where you have got to trust your skills. Trust your gut, use what know and know what you’re doing is correct. Make sure that you know your role. This is one of the biggest advice that I can give you as a nurse because I wish somebody would’ve told me that a long time ago during an emergency situation. Know your role, do one job and stick with it. If you have a code and your job is to do meds. Good. Stick with that. If your job is to record, do that. If your job is to do compressions, do that. Here’s the problem, a lot of the times when people freak out they will go do compressions and the medications and go back and worth. Then they’ll go to the crash cart and get meds out. Stop, do one job and stick with it.

This will help keep everybody stay calmer because they just have one job to do. Okay. A little bit more. Make sure that you communicate without yelling or panicking. I know once again, that’s easier said than done, but if you’re in a code situation and you can try to communicate calmly, everybody in the room can hear and again it calms people down, but when you have two to three people yelling across the room, did you do this? Did you do that? It is just a cluster and it doesn’t help. Make sure you have one person is giving orders. You have one leader in the room. I went down to the ER about a month ago cause we got called in for a STEMI.

We went to the ER. It was the most organized code I had ever seen in my life. The doctor, one doctor, and then maybe about six to seven nurses. The doctor was the only one communicating. The doctor was the only one saying, okay, when was our last epi? Stop compressions. Let’s check a pulse. Resume compressions. Let’s shock. And because everybody knew their role and was just listening to one person talking and one person giving orders. It was the most organized code I had ever seen. So make a habit of that and breathe and concentrate on your role. I cannot say this enough. If you have one job you can focus on your one job instead of trying to run around the room and trying to do everything. Stop. So again, focus. Focus on your one job and try to stay calm.

So, if you do have an emergent situation, the patient is not dying, but Hey, they’re almost dying. They’re circling the drain, they’re about to code on you. This is actually very intense and this is when a lot of nurses freak out as well because you know what’s going to happen if you don’t do something about it right away. So it’s kinda hard to stay calm because you’re just freaking out and just running all over the place to get things. But my advice, the best thing you can do is immediately figure out what you have to do. Again, this is where the questioning mentality comes in. Why is this happening? What’s going on? What caused it? What do I do to fix it? If you have that question and mentality increases your critical thinking skills and you can figure out what you have to do, use your resources.

If you have a patient who’s sats are in the 70s and they’re short of breath, call respiratory right away, call a rapid response. Call people to come help you. Don’t try to do it on your own. That is the biggest mistake a nurse can do. Get help in there as soon as possible and do what you know works. Basically what this means is if you have a patient, I’m going to use the best example for a new nurse. What do you know? Oxygen, okay, high flow. Put them on a non rebreather. You know this stuff works. It may get the sats up and you know it works. So do something about it. Just like if you have a patient with a blood pressure that’s very, very low, lay him down. Trendelenburg is getting a little bit of controversial, but put them in trendelenburg, lay them flat. Keep the head of the bed flat leveled with the feet. Do something. So do what you know works and again, focus and think clearly. I know it’s easier said than done. Don’t freak out. Try to always stay focused. What do I gotta do? Okay. Have that mentality. What do I got to do instead of just standing there and freezing? Always think, what do I got to do to help this person?

So just to recap on this short lesson, staying calm helps you think clearer. It will help you constantly think, what do you have to do? What can you get done to help this patient? Freaking out is toxic. Once you start freaking out, Oh my gosh, everybody else is going to start freaking out. So stop, stay calm, focus, and think clearly. Because if you can have a clear mindset, you’re going to be able to know what you have to do to get this patient better.

And again, my last bit of advice, I said it before, I’m gonna say one more time. Know your role. And have one role and stick with that one rule. If everybody in the room knows their roles and knows what they’re supposed to do, it is a lot more organized. So I hope that this little lesson has helped you guys with some tips on how to stay calm during an emergency because it’s going to happen and we all freak out. But just tell yourself to stay calm. Okay, hope this helps. Make sure that you guys go out and be your best selves today and as always, happy nursing.