Berdowski J, Berg RA, Tijssen JGP, Koster RW. Global incidences of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and survival rates: Systematic review of 67 prospective studies. Resuscitation. 2010; 81:(11)1479-1487

Nursing and Midwifery Council. The code. 2018. (accessed 14 January 2019)

Resuscitation Council. Resuscitation to recovery. A national framework to improve care of people with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in England. 2017. (accessed 14 January 2019)

Should I have helped?

24 January 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 2

There's a knock on your door. Your neighbour is on the doorstep. Her husband has collapsed. What do you do? This happened to me and I immediately provided assistance. Before discussing the finer aspects of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Code (2018), it is worth remembering that upwards of 33 000 people in the UK each year experience a sudden cardiac arrest, but less than 10% survive (Resuscitation Council, 2017). This is a dismal outcome especially when compared with other countries (Berdowski, 2010). Therefore, all nurses should feel confident in providing the key resuscitation skills and in performing these skills to a high standard (Resuscitation Council, 2017),.

However, when I subsequently discussed this incident with my colleagues, a number said they ‘could not’ or ‘would not’ have helped. This I found professionally challenging as the Code is very clear on this matter. It states that a nurse should ‘always offer help if an emergency arises in your practice setting or anywhere else’ (section 15) and, furthermore, the Code stipulates that all nurses must have indemnity insurance (section 12) (NMC, 2018).

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