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I have been a Registered Nurse for 37 years. I have been hospital based in Oxford, although I did do a couple of years in the community, working autonomously overnight with the Emergency Services. I retired last year from my role as a Senior Clinical Operational Manager for the Oxford Trust which fundamentally exposed me to thousands of life threatening situations. I was part of the Resuscitation Team for the Trust and have held my Advanced Life Support qualification for 22 years.

I am known for saying to people….the smallest things sometimes can make a difference to someones life. If you can open an airway you can save a life.

Life has a happy knack of catching you out when you least expect it. This was certainly true with an event which I was involved in this last weekend. My husband and I (apologies for sounding Royal) had decided to get a take away last Saturday evening. Whilst heading back to the car park, take away in hand, we walked past a restaurant in chaos – people shouting and panicking due to an incident inside. Once I saw a defibrillator being delivered, I knew I had to spring into action.

The scene that presented to us was crucial! A lady was unconscious and barely breathing. She then stopped breathing which certainly increased the tempo in the restaurant full of customers. My husband (ex Police) provided massive support to myself by ringing the emergency services and relaying all relevant information.

The most obvious learning point to come from this event was that no one had any resuscitation skills in the restaurant before I arrived.

Obviously I am more comfortable in this situation than the average person on the street. This has been one of my roles in life.

After shocking this poor lady with a defibrillator and solely doing CPR for 30 minutes before the Paramedics arrived, I am delighted to say I had successfully restarted her heart.

In conclusion, part of maintaining ones resuscitation skills inevitably involves looking after everyone present at the scene.

The family were at the scene, and clearly to have somebody who is competent in their resuscitation skills present has made the world of difference to them. It is the best feeling in the world to be able to save a life. You never know when your knowledge and skills will be needed.

This morning, I was greeted by a courier at my front door, holding a bouquet of flowers from a very appreciative family.

The attached card said –“There are no words we can say to thank you enough for what you did”

My job is done!

Keep up your resuscitations skills. The smallest things can make a difference after all.

Written by Sarah Humphries (RGN/ECG, Freelance trainer), Monday 9th March 2020