“Alive and in good spirits as we parted company”; I think one has to call that a time where I worked hard to overcome an obstacle in order to achieve a positive result. Following this experience, one of the senior staff joked that he “felt much more comfortable” having a heart attack around me now, should that situation arise while we were on shift together.
Coincidentally, the next week I was moved to inpatient CT/MRI permanently and I have a great many stories of challenging circumstances over the proceeding years. For example, my first case of medication induced anaphylaxis from an injection I had prepared was a 16 year old girl, on a public holiday no less, with a skeleton crew staff. I was chatting to her, awaiting the orderly. We were on our own, just post her procedure, talking bands and about her injury (she had come from emergency for something minor). Very quickly a sneeze and a change in pallor signalled the beginning of a difficulty continuing the conversation; although the young girl herself was not yet concerned. This occasion was important to me, as the first time you hit the “code blue” emergency button is an internally interesting challenge.
This is because an alarm sounds everywhere in the department, and a crash team comes from X-Ray, ED, and ICU (which is a building and 3 floors away). So, absolutely, you don’t want to kill people via inaction (ideally); but also these specialists deal with death all the time and aren’t overly impressed when you make them run across buildings for a patient who spontaneously springs back to life as they enter the room (I’ve had that too).
But this leaves a burdensome question of how long do you wait. How cyanosed is purple enough? How unconscious is unconscious enough for a sedated patient in a bed? But I am a button pusher. I don’t allow things to get out of hand if there are signs of impending disaster, especially not to save face or avoid blame. And this is a learned and transferable skill that is an important one in any environment. In truth, the patient is never left alone in the hospital setting and it is extremely rare that someone additional is not handy to grab a doctor to swiftly assess the patient before a code is called.
None the less, being surrounded by nurses, doctors and assorted medical professionals with equipment and a big red button on every wall, it turns out, is very different to being on a train with 2 other strangers and, as yet, no specific relevant experience. So that is why I chose the train story to demonstrate relevant character attributes in a dynamic fashion. Fearless risk taking, but only following careful, painstaking assessment, encapsulates the core stable trait of my personality profile. Through this story I have demonstrated that I have experience going beyond the theoretical; taking on a leadership role; being confident and decisive when the time called for it; and achieving a positive result.
In short: I will not hesitate to “push the button” in any environment when required; but, as demonstrated, can also stand alone and find solutions where there is no “button” option available.
For all of the reasons outlined above, I believe I will bring the right attitude and have a lot to contribute to the deep frying team at your KFC family restaurant.
Dr J. J. Raphael, hc
First Published for Powerhouse (1), 5/2/13, p6.