You will learn about the normal flow of traffic in an emergency room the people involved the special techniques used to respond to life-or-death situations
Emergency Room Patients Car accidents Sports injuries Broken bones and cuts from accidents and falls Burns Uncontrolled bleeding Heart attacks, chest pain Difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, pneumonia Strokes, loss of function and/or numbness in arms or legs Loss of vision, hearing Unconsciousness
Emergency Room Patients Confusion, altered level of consciousness, fainting Suicidal or homicidal thoughts Overdoses Severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting Food poisoning Blood when vomiting, coughing, urinating, or in bowel movements Severe allergic reactions from insect bites, foods or medications Complications from diseases, high fevers
Understanding the ER Maze The classic emergency room scene involves an ambulance screeching to a halt, a gurney hurtling through the hallway and some people frantically working to save a person's life with only seconds to spare. This does happen and is not uncommon, The majority of cases seen in a typical emergency department aren't quite this dramatic.
Triage When you arrive at the ER, your first stop is triage. This is the place where each patient's condition is prioritized into three general categories: Immediately life threatening Urgent, but not immediately life threatening Less urgent
Triage The triage nurse records patients vital signs (temperature, pulse, respiratory rate and blood pressure). She also gets a brief history of patients current medical complaints, past medical problems, medications and allergies.
Registration This step is necessary to develop a medical record so that patients medical history, lab tests, X-rays, etc., will all be located on one chart that can be referenced at any time. If the patient's condition is life-threatening or if the patient arrives by ambulance, this step may be completed later at the bedside.
Examination Room Patients are seen by an ER nurse who obtains more detailed information about patients. Once the nurse has finished her tasks, the next visitor is an ER physician. He gets a more detailed medical history about your present illness, past medical problems, family history, social history, and a complete review of all your body systems. He then formulates a list of possible causes of your symptoms.
Diagnostic Tests Blood tests and a urinalysis are required. A complete blood count (CBC) A serum test A blood's clotting test
Diagnosis and Treatment When the emergency physician has all the information he can obtain, he makes a determination of the most likely diagnosis from his differential diagnosis. Alternately, he may decide that he does not have enough information to make a decision and may require more tests. At this point, appropriate consultant is needed.
The ER team Emergency Physician Emergency Nurse Physician Assistant Emergency Department Technician Unit Secretary Physicians in Training
Tools of the Trade Emergency Departments are stocked with a huge array of strangely named, oddly shaped, beeping and blinking equipment.
Stethoscope A stethoscope lets a nurse or physician listen to heart and respiratory sounds. A stethoscope is used to take your blood pressure by listening to the flow of blood through your arteries.
Cardiac Monitor A cardiac monitor gives a visual display of the rhythm of patients heart. Some monitors also have an automatic blood pressure cuff and a pulse oximeter.
Suture Tray This tray contains the sterile equipment needed to place stitches in a patient with a laceration. needle holder forceps sterile towels scissors small bowls
Orthopedic Equipment Most emergency departments have a generous number of orthopedic devices for many purposes plaster and/or fiberglass materials pre-made splints for specific joints –knee immobilizers –aluminum finger splints –Velcro wrist splints –shoulder slings –cervical collars cast cutters
Crash Cart A crash cart is a cabinet containing equipment that physicians and nurses need when a cardiac arrest occurs. –Defibrillator –Endotracheal intubation equipment –Central vein catheters –Cardiac drugs