Stop Yelling and Fumbling – Employ RECOVER CPR
I have worked in the veterinary field for 16 years, with the last 6 being in emergency medicine. During this time span, I have performed CPR many times. For the first several years, I remember feeling sheer panic each time a patient would need resuscitation. While that anxiety never fully went away, it eased somewhat after being exposed to these situations continuously over the years.
However, I always felt as if I had unanswered questions, and CPR always seemed to be a stressful, hectic event with someone yelling and someone fumbling for the right medications. Sometimes that someone was me. On top of the yelling and fumbling, each doctor and technician that I worked with varied somewhat with how they responded and treated a cardiopulmonary arrest. Compressions were stopped at various intervals to evaluate patient status, emergency drugs administered when it seemed like it had been long enough, and there wasn’t usually a person clearly directing the situation or a group consensus.
CPR always seemed to be a stressful, hectic event with someone yelling and someone fumbling for the right medications. Sometimes that someone was me.
After years of on the job training as an assistant, I finally completed my RVT program at Mt. San Antonio College in 2015. During one of my last courses, I was taught basic life support following the RECOVER guidelines. This training, along with conference lectures I attended and the materials I read, helped me develop a general knowledge base on how to perform CPR correctly. After years of emergency work, I felt fairly confident in my skills but knew I could improve. When I signed up for the RECOVER courses, I had no idea how many knowledge gaps I was about to fill!
The first step was to complete the RECOVER online courses for basic and advanced life support. The courses were incredibly helpful and full of interactive tools that helped me visualize and retain the information. The course went above and beyond my expectations and I still go through them from time to time to refresh my memory. After completing these online courses, I proceeded to attend the BLS & ALS Rescuer training courses in person. I attended with two of my coworkers, and we trained with CPR experts right over our shoulders, in an immersive simulation environment. It was nothing short of an amazing day for all of us.
In fact, I was so excited the night before, that I could not sleep at all and drank entirely too much caffeine the morning of the training. As a result, when I volunteered to be the group leader for the first CPR case, I ended up performing compressions on my simulator dog who still had a heartbeat that I had missed. Luckily, some of that caffeine wore off by the time I had to take my test. After each simulated case, we dissected what could have been done better and what was done well. We all learned from each other and it was a fun and enlightening experience. Days like this really drive home why I love what I do and want to continue to be better every day.
We are calmer and more organized, and there’s much less fumbling and yelling.
Back at my after-hours ER, I can see the difference in how the three of us respond to a CPA. We are calmer and more organized, and there’s much less fumbling and yelling. My hope is to see my entire team become certified in RECOVER CPR, so we can continue to improve and refine our techniques. Even if we cannot save every patient, it’s satisfying to know that we did everything we could, by being prepared with CPR training backed by evidence-based guidelines.
Laura Waller RVT
RECOVER Certified BLS Rescuer
RECOVER Certified ALS Rescuer
About Laura Waller, RVT
Laura Waller is a Registered Veterinary Technician at Animal Emergency Clinic in Victorville, CA. She has experience in general practice, shelter medicine, as a veterinary technology instructor, and found her passion in emergency medicine. She is currently working on her Bachelor’s of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology. She hopes to one day obtain her VTS in ECC. Laura and her husband share their home with a menagerie of dogs and cats, and outside of work she enjoys reading, swimming and playing video games.
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