Confidence is defined as your ability to rely completely on someone or something. As a health care worker, you need to have confidence in your coworkers, but you also need to have a strong reliance on your own ability. This is called self-confidence.

One of the areas in which it is easiest to lack self-confidence is in running or participating in a code. You may feel as if you wouldn’t have a clue what to do if your patient should code. This can leave you feeling like a poor health care professional and can significantly diminish your self-confidence. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your confidence and feel brave enough to run a code should the need arise.

What Gives You Confidence?

First, consider where your confidence lies. Are you relying on your ability to remember every algorithm correctly at a moment’s notice? Are you relying on your ability to do everything right yourself and to save all of your patients? While these are worthy goals, they can leave you feeling discouraged when things don’t work out perfectly.

The good news is that in most health care environments, you’ll not be alone. You’ll nearly always have a coworker or another professional nearby who’ll be ready to assist you immediately. In the hospital or clinic setting, you’ll also have code sheets that will list algorithms should your mind suddenly blank.

While you need plenty of self-confidence to come in to work knowing that you’ll be taking care of your patients as best you can, you must also learn that all of your confidence does not have to lie in yourself. In most cases, you’ll be surrounded with a support system.

Be Prepared

Second, once you realize that everything isn’t up to you alone, you can find ways to increase your confidence if you’re feeling scared every time you come in to work. One of the best options is to get advanced certifications. While a piece of paper saying that you passed a course is not a surefire way to save every patient that codes, it’s a good reminder that you had the knowledge, memory and skills to succeed in practice situations that mirrored real life.

During your ACLS certification class, you’ll be memorizing the algorithms that you must know for emergencies. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities throughout the two-day class to practice your skills with a team. After each scenario, your leader will guide your team through a debriefing to talk about what went right and what went wrong. With an ACLS recertification class every two years, you’ll be able to brush up on your skills to ensure that you still know just what you need for any life-threatening emergency.

Take Charge Confidently When Needed

By being prepared mentally and physically, you’ll be boosting your self-confidence by getting ready for events that may eventually happen. You can rest assured that your mind will be ready to go should the need arise.

In some future scenarios, you may need to be in charge of a code. This could happen if the coding patient is your own, if you’re working as a charge nurse or another type of code facilitator in your hospital or if no doctor is present. Remember that the initial steps that you or others in the room take are quite simple. Compressions must start immediately, other health care workers must be notified, the crash cart must be in the room and someone needs to be in charge of recording. If you’re in charge of the code, your main job is to assign jobs and give order from the algorithm. If you’re involved in a code in which you’re not in charge, your main job will be to take a task and stay in your role throughout the code.

Initially, it can seem scary to have someone’s life in your hands. This is a high calling but certainly not one that you have to dread. Prepare yourself for strong confidence through certification, and practice positive self-talk. After all, the most important person you have to impress is yourself.