Keep calm and carry on!

(Or as I prefer, keep calm and ride on.)

An obvious point of my position is that I cannot be at every site all the time. Emergent situations do not schedule themselves for when I'm there. As a result, I am becoming a pro at phoning in directions for site staff. Take last week, at my middle school: a new epileptic student (absence seizures) had started Monday and despite my efforts that began the Friday before he started to reach his father, come Thursday, I still had no parent contact that might have given me some insight into this student's epilepsy. I had called the student into my office on Wednesday to get some information from him, but he was mostly vague and unhelpful. By Thursday, I knew I needed to at least notify the teachers and site staff in case of an occurrence at school, so I sent out an email with general care for absence seizures to those that needed to know. Good thing: Thursday afternoon, the school called me in a panic, with Absence Seizure Boy in the office recovering from his third seizure of the day - he hadn't told anyone about the other two. I could hear chaos in the background, and had to remind myself that for seizure novices, seizures can be scary, whether absence or grand mal. Quite quickly, they calmed down and the situation got sorted out: he was doing just fine, but given it was #3 of the day and I had no idea how frequent they normally are (answer your phone, A.S. Boy's dad!), I suggested they get someone to pick him up. Crisis resolved.

They say people call 911 only once in their lives, but I suspect this must be the mean and not the mode (think back to your middle school math definitions). I'm 26 and have a couple calls under my own belt, and I can recall those instances that I've had to call like they happened five minutes ago. The thing that stands out the most in those calls: the reassuring voice of the dispatcher giving me directions. One of the things I hate most about my job is the fact that I have to act as a dispatcher sometimes, giving phone directions to someone totally medically unqualified, rather than being able to be present myself for whatever incident. Even so, I do my best to emulate the 911 dispatcher aura of calmness, because they're awesome. Here's to 911 dispatchers, and for everyone, no matter the situation: keep calm and carry on!


  1. Keeping our calm is a part of being a medical practitioner. If we are not calm, our patient will never be healed. Quiet mind means wisdom to do things that must be done.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Peny@nurse scrubs

  2. That is the one thing I try to get across to teachers when I do first aid review at the beginning of the year: "Stay Calm. You Set the Tone for the Situation".