I don’t do code team

New RN: “I don’t do Code team. I have a medical letter to say I don’t have to”

Me: WTF?!

Excuse me? When did you learn that you hated nursing?

Currently there is a practice among nurses that if there is some aspect of your job you don’t want to do, all you have to do is get a physician to write you a note saying you should not do this activity and you are now medically accommodated to not do this activity, yet retain your job. Now I am a fairly reasonable person – if you can’t sleep at all on days and end up sick all the time because you are sleep deprived and you are putting yourself and others at risk because of your sleep habits, then yeah, I think accommodating you to straight day shift is the right thing to do.

But when you come up with this ‘can’t do code team’ bullshit, well I am going to call BullShit! cause frankly I can’t for the life of me figure out why a code inside the ICU is different from a code outside the ICU.

“Oh, I can’t run!”

Clearly there are very, very few people who can run all the way to a code, stairs and all, however you are saved because we now have a policy that you DO NOT run to a code call. Plus you don’t actually drag the cart up the stairs, we have elevators.

“I can’t push the cart”

Again, WTF!? What happens if your patient needs to be pushed to the OR, or radiology or out to the ward? Can you push the bed with that 200 pound patient in it? Clearly you can and so you can push the crash cart.

“no, really, I can’t push the cart and walk fast”

Seriously? This is the line you are going to take? Cause seriously, if you cannot walk fast and push the crash cart, I am thinking ICU is not for you. Patients code in ICU. A Lot. And each and every one of them needs someone to walk quickly to the crash cart and bring it to their room. That someone could very likely be you. You going to tell me you can’t do this? Then I am going to tell you to get the F outta my ICU.

“The adrenalin makes my _________ (fill in chronic convenient disease here) worse”

So how do you control the adrenalin you get when some jackass cuts you off in traffic and you nearly slide off the road? How you prevent an adrenalin surge when a patient arrests in the ICU and needs to have you participate in the code? What is your adrenalin blunting strategy when the helicopter lands and the team pulls through the door in full resuscitation with compressions, exsanguination and weeping family in their wake?

Code team and emergency cardiac management is as much a part of being an ICU nurse as having one-to-two patient assignment. Pretty cushy by most nurses’ standards.

As of tomorrow I am putting this on the job interview tool:

ICU is a physically demanding job. It involves lifting patients, pushing beds and carts, standing for long hours, moving quickly and interacting in a polite, respectful manner with patients and families. Do you have any restrictions that would prevent you from transferring a patient? How about pushing a bed or a crash cart? Getting equipment in a hurry or moving a patient who needs emergency surgery to the OR in a short period of time? How about maintaining an even, interested tone in your voice and not rolling your eyes and sighing in front of patients and families?



One thought on “I don’t do code team

  1. Nursing just ain’t what it used to be! Sounds as if the person in question should be in the bed not by the bed. Once upon a time you had to pass a medical to get into nursing perhaps everybody should have to have a medical to stay in nursing. I’m on the same tack here in the UK. It is dispiriting that these problems of falling standards seem to be universal. If you’d like some impressions of life my side of the pond you can find them at prideinnursingdotcom.wordpress.com

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