Wednesday, 22 October 2008


As a student nurse I am required to sit through three hours of bls training every year. As a member of St John Ambulance I tend to keep my skills sharp much more regularly than that. Unfortunately the two sometimes conflict.

During my Basic Life Support training yesterday the nurse stated emphatically that should you have a patient with a possible spinal injury and they vomit into their mouths you are not to do anything. In short you sit back and watch the patient suffocate. In St John we are taught that Airway, Breathing and Circulation come first, as long as those are secure you can start taking care of other injuries. In this situation with sja or any other first aid organisation it would be appropriate to put the patient in the recovery position (in the absence of a suction unit) regardless of the risk caused by a possible spinal injury. The rationale is that if you move them the MIGHT die or suffer paralysis, if you dont move them they WILL die.

After taking some pains to explain my moral objections to the former concept being taught as protocol for 'healthcare professionals' I went above the trainers head to her boss. who supported my arguement. Unfortunately the trainer had already drummed this faulty concept into five groups before us.

One a more positive note I went to see my new ward today. Its a gastro medical and surgical ward and I'll only be there for six weeks. The ward seems wonderful, the staff were very friendly and welcoming and whilst the specialty is not a real passion of mine I still find it fairly interesting. I think this is just the placement I need after the mess with my last one.


Darkwinter said...

Unrelated but maybe of interest:

The BBC's Guide to the Hippocratic Oath...

Baby Blue Pyjamas said...

my understanding of bls taught in hospitals is that its for use in hospitals. where there is stuff like suction. On a sataday night we get lots of vomiting drunks with ?spinal injurys. The ambos bring them in strapped to the spinal board and at a 90 degree angle. so they don't asperate. I'm guessing St johns is designed to be used in the real world and nursing student bls is designed to be used in the fun and games in hospital.

Asclepius said...

That would make sense but the first and second year students are only taught bls which has no technical differences from the BLS sja teach and is taught using outside world scenarios.