A patient has presented to the ER and reports being thrown from a four-wheel ATV. The patient is awake, alert, and oriented, and is moving all extremities. The patient complains of a headache and neck pain rated as an 8 on a scale of 0 to 10. The nurse knows the first intervention for this patient should be which of the following?

Place the patient in a neck immobilizing brace until x-ray can be obtained.

Explanation

• Patients who present to the ER or trauma unit with complaints of neck and head pain after an accident should have the cervical spine immobilized with a neck immobilizer device until any possible cervical spine injury is ruled out.

• This is done because patients may have an incomplete break in a cervical spine vertebra that could become a complete break if the patient moves the head or neck. The neck immobilizer will prevent any potential injury from becoming worse.

• After the neck is immobilized, the nurse can then obtain vital signs and establish IV access.

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