Our Nurse of the Week is Loretta Bledsoe, a critical care nurse from Longwood, FL who helped deliver a 2-pound, 4-ounce baby on her flight home to Orlando before the plane made an emergency landing in Charleston.
Bledsoe was an hour into her flight from Philadelphia when the flight attendant made an announcement about a medical emergency and asked if any doctors or nurses were on board. A nurse for more than 40 years with a range of experience from intensive-care to pediatrics, Bledsoe was well qualified to help deliver a baby. She turned on her call light to let the flight attendant know she could help and was brought to the front of the plane where a young woman was hunched over in a window seat.
The pregnant woman didn’t look very far along but said that her water had broken and minutes later Bledsoe was holding a tiny baby boy in her arms. Another passenger, an emergency-room doctor from Pennsylvania, helped stabilize the mother while the flight attendants and pilot planned for an emergency landing to get the new baby and his parents to a local hospital.
Surprisingly, the mom and dad had already added ‘Jet’ to their list of baby names and they decided it was the perfect fit after baby Jet was born mid-flight. Bledsoe later found out that the mom whose baby she had delivered was also a nurse. Talking about the events of that day, Bledsoe told OrlandoSentinel.com, “But you always use your nursing background, always. It’s like riding a bike: You never forget.”
Bledsoe has spoken to the mother a few times since about updates that the baby is doing much better. She hopes to meet the family again when they return home to Central Florida. To learn more about Bledsoe’s courageous mid-flight baby delivery, you can view her interview with OrlandoSentinel.com.
Our Nurse of the Week is Gaithersburg High School in Maryland where students are learning how to nurse by practicing on nursing home patients. As part of a partnership with Ingleside at King Farm, a Rockville retirement community with a nursing home on site, a dozen students from the high school program are training to become certified nursing assistants and geriatric nursing assistants.
Now in the second year of the intensive program, the goal is to prepare students for careers in healthcare. Students don’t pay tuition for the program funded by William Leahy, a neurologist on Ingleside’s board of directors who founded the program and hopes to expand it. The students are taught by Linda Hall, a nursing professor at Montgomery College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education division.
Students in the program are part of a 4 day-a-week course that takes place outside school hours. It combines 88 hours of classroom learning with 60 hours of clinical training and working with actual residents at Ingleside. After completing the program, students are eligible to apply for nursing assistant state certification or take the geriatric nursing assistant (GNA) exam.
To learn more about the students in the program and their experiences, visit The Washington Post.
Judith Hoover is an international nurse from Stark County, OH where she works as a nurse manager at Pregnancy Choices when she isn’t serving on relief missions with Samaritan’s Purse. Working on-call as a member of the Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), she might have to leave at a moment’s notice to use her passion and skills for international nursing to help some of the world’s most desperate people.
Hoover has been involved in international nursing since her graduation from Kent State University in 2009. Two years ago, she spent three months serving in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak. She has also served on missions in Bolivia, Guatemala, and West Africa. Her most recent mission was a three-week assignment in Haiti which she was notified about less than 24 hours before she left.
Following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew which struck Haiti in October and killed more than 900, Hoover and the rest of her response team ventured into hard-to-reach regions of the country to treat victims of cholera. Over 9,000 people in Haiti died from cholera after a 2010 earthquake. Food and living conditions aren’t always ideal for international nurses like Hoover who travel to poor and disaster-struck regions of the world, but she says it offers a “good perspective check.”
In an interview with CantonRep.com, Hoover said “You can’t fix the world, but for that one person, you can make a difference. You have to focus on the lives you can change instead of the ones you can’t.” This is a statement all international and travel nurses know to be true. Thank you to our Nurse of the Week, Judith Hoover, for your dedication to the field of international nursing and the passion you have for helping make the world a safer and healthier place one person at a time.
To read more about Hoover and her mission work with Samaritan’s Purse, visit here.
Six months after the tragedy of the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, memories of that night are still clear for the healthcare providers who cared for the survivors. To share what they experienced and learned during their shifts in the Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) trauma center on June 12, doctors, nurses, and hospital executives have been traveling to conferences across the country to educate other medical providers.
Trauma Nurse Libby Brown was one of the many healthcare providers who treated survivors of the Pulse tragedy and she recalled the events of that night for the Orlando Sentinel. Brown recalls working her normal shift at the ORMC trauma center when her husband, an Orlando fireman, messaged her about gunshots at Pulse. Shortly after, the in-house trauma surgeon announced that their first patient was arriving.
The patients didn’t stop there, with one after another coming into the trauma center. Brown quickly realized that it was a scenario they had never experienced before and not all of their patients were going to survive. All healthcare professionals are trained for triage to help them make quick decisions and save as many lives as possible, but making life and death decisions in real time is nothing like practicing in a classroom. The ORMC trauma center received a total of 44 patients that morning, nine of whom died. Their last survivor was discharged in September.
Speaking candidly about the events of that night, Brown told OrlandoSentinel.com, “All I think about is love. In the face of hate, the only thing that can change that is love, and I know what love is, because I was there that night.”
Thank you to our Nurse of the Week, Libby Brown, and the many other healthcare professionals who treated the survivors of this tragic event.
Katelyn Nordhoff, 22, a junior nursing student at Indiana University, didn’t realize how few kids in nearby low-income neighborhoods receive regular dental care twice a year until she began a community clinical course this semester. The course is designed to teach students about health disparities in rural and low-income areas.
To complete her community hours, Nordhoff was stationed at Bloomington Housing Authority providing basic health screenings. She began to see a disparity in dental care especially after learning that many families she saw didn’t have normal health insurance, and even those with health insurance didn’t have dental coverage. Referring to dental care, Nordhoff told the Bloomington HeraldTimesOnline.com that, “It’s kind of something you don’t even think about when you think of health care.”
While working with kids from kindergarten through 4th grade, Nordhoff saw the effects of not visiting a dentist twice a year. Many of the kids hadn’t even been to the dentist twice in their lives. Wanting to help teach these young kids the importance of brushing and flossing twice a day, she asked for donations from local dentists and received enough materials to put together 175 dental kits with neon toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. After passing out the kits to kids in the local Boys and Girls Club after-school program, Nordhoff taught them the best ways to brush and floss their teeth.
We’re honoring Katelyn as our Nurse of the Week for her inspiring work as a community nursing student helping low-income families and their children receive the health care they need when dental care gets too easily overlooked.
Our Nurse of the Week is Anne Boatright, 32, who recently received a Transformational Leadership award from the American Nurses Credentialing Center for her work supporting and treating rape victims. Boatright is a sexual assault nurse examiner, a career path she chose after the difficult experience of treating a patient who was a victim of rape.
Treating rape victims is a sensitive matter that can leave many healthcare professionals feeling at a loss for how to best support these special patients. However, Boatright found that sexual assault nursing was the right specialty for her, and she is now the coordinator of the Methodist Heidi Wilke Forensic Nurse Examiner program in Omaha, NE.
Boatright’s Forensic Nurse Examiner program is the only forensic nursing program in the state. Omaha World-Herald reports that the program has grown significantly from treating 27 cases in 2003 to over 380 cases this year, an average of 30 cases per month. The program has 24/7 staffing with 30 Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and community partners from the Omaha Police Department, Douglas County Attorney’s Office, and the Women’s Center for Advancement.
Thank you, Anne, for your courageous and passionate work treating victims of sexual assault when they need your support the most.