Our Nurse of the Week is Keara Lawson, a nursing student at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi who was driving from Delhi to Stamford for her clinical placement when she witnessed an accident and stopped to help the crash victim. The quick-thinking student received a real-life lesson in first response that she will carry with her for the rest of her career.
At 6:15 AM on a morning in October, the sun was not yet up as Lawson was driving herself and three fellow nursing students through cold rain when the car ahead of her slowed down before a vehicle swerved into her lane. Lawson recalls seeing the oncoming vehicle hit something before a huge explosion happened and something on fire flew into the ditch.
Lawson pulled over and got out as the driver also stepped out of his vehicle, in shock and experiencing tunnel vision. He told the nursing students they needed to call 911 because he had just hit a woman. The driver ran into the ditch and pulled a woman out of the fire and began rolling her in the dirt.
According to TheDailyStar.com, state troopers reported that a woman had been walking southbound holding a gas can, and when she was struck, the gas can exploded. Lawson saw the woman on the ground, and the driver and nursing students quickly ran over to help comfort her and keep her conscious until paramedics arrived.
Lawson recalls, “We had nothing but our textbooks, stethoscopes and our brains. [The paramedics] were really thankful that we were able to give them information so they knew exactly what to do when they got there.”
Lawson and her classmates were only 10 weeks into their first year of nursing school, but this is an experience they will carry with them for the rest of their careers. She felt a passion and instinct to help, assuring her that she’s pursuing the right career path. To learn more about SUNY Delhi nursing student Keara Lawson who treated a crash victim on her way to her clinical rotations, visit here.
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Our Nurse of the Week is Ari Mahler, a trauma nurse in Pittsburgh and a member of the Tree of Life synagogue’s Jewish congregation, who treated suspected synagogue shooter Robert Bowers after he was brought in to be treated for multiple gunshot wounds from police. The tragic October 27th shooting that killed more than 11 people left Mahler in fear that his own parents may have been victims of the shooting, especially his father who is a rabbi, but he felt compelled to do his job as a nurse and show compassion to his patient regardless of his actions.
Mahler’s story emerged after Allegheny General Hospital President Jeffrey Cohen, who is also Jewish and a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue, told news outlets that a Jewish nurse and Jewish doctor treated the suspected shooter. After seeing local news stations talking about the care he provided that day, Mahler decided to respond with a Facebook post that has since been shared more than 171,000 times.
Bowers had no idea that his nurse was Jewish and Mahler did not disclose that fact while providing treatment. Mahler’s viral Facebook post, which begins with the words “I am The Jewish Nurse,” go on to explain:
“I wanted him to feel compassion. I chose to show him empathy. I felt that the best way to honor his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong. Besides, if he finds out I’m Jewish, does it really matter? The better question is, what does it mean to you?”
Mahler ultimately provided lifesaving care to his patient as an act of love and humanity, reaffirming that love in the face of evil can provide hope and a path forward. To read Mahler’s full account of treating suspected synagogue shooter Robert Bowers, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Lexi Brown, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse at New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) in Wilmington, NC. After being born as a NICU baby during a blizzard, Brown later worked her first shift as a NICU nurse during Hurricane Florence.
Brown was born premature during a blizzard and spent the first six weeks of her life in the NICU. When a blizzard dumped four feet of snow in the area a week after she was born, the governor declared a state of emergency, preventing her parents from visiting her for several days. Her own birth story inspired Brown to become a NICU nurse, and she relived a similar situation 23 years later when Hurricane Florence required the governor to call for a state of emergency, leading to a 135-hour marathon shift that kept her at NHRMC for six days straight.
Brown’s stay in the NICU as an infant was difficult for her parents who couldn’t get to her until the blizzard passed. They had to turn her life over to the nurses who were caring for her, and hearing her parents talk about the care her nurses provided inspired Brown to want to become a NICU nurse herself.
Brown was scheduled to work her first official shift as a NICU nurse on September 12, two days before Hurricane Florence hit, and two days after Governor Roy Cooper had declared a state of emergency. Her parents couldn’t be more proud to see her back in the NICU now, this time as a nurse serving other vulnerable families.
Brown tells WECT.com, “Just having my parents’ perspective from it all makes me pay more attention to parents. I have the baby as my patient but the parents are just as important. Just focusing on how they feel and making sure that they know that they’re still great parents even though they couldn’t be there.”
To learn more about NICU nurse Lexi Brown whose family’s experience during her stay in the NICU as an infant inspired her to become a NICU nurse later in life, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Leslie Silcox, a registered nurse from Knoxville, Tennessee, who has been organizing hurricane relief efforts for years in her own spare time. Most recently, she helped pack supplies to send to Florida following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
Silcox’s hurricane relief efforts began in 2012 when she randomly opened her Facebook page and saw images of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York. She wished there was something she could do to help, and realized that maybe there was. Silcox posted on her own Facebook page asking for volunteers, and within 3 days had filled a 20-foot Budget truck with relief supplies and headed to Staten Island.
Silcox was at it again last week packing supplies to send to Florida to help the individuals impacted by Hurricane Michael. She organized a group of other nurses who went down to help evacuate nursing homes as the storm hit. Her role was doing the legwork of organizing where to send her volunteers, in addition to still helping victims of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas.
Silcox tells WBIR.com, “If we as human beings would reach out to our brothers and sisters and our neighbors, this world would be so much more amazing.”
To learn more about registered nurse Leslie Silcox and her efforts to help victims of Hurricane Michael, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Careen Rodgers, a registered nurse employed by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), who packed her bags and headed south after seeing the extensive havoc that Hurricane Florence wreaked on the Carolinas. Rodgers was one of 22 nurses from the VDH who joined forces with the North Carolina Department of Health to set up shelters along the coast.
Rodgers’ volunteer stint became a 10-day trip after she found herself in Raleigh, North Carolina along with members of the National Guard and others nurses, totaling over 1,000 emergency response personnel. Rodgers joined a team of nurses bound for New Bern, one of the hardest hit areas. She was posted at a shelter at Trent Park Elementary School. The school itself didn’t receive extensive damage from the storm but the nearby residents who fled to the safe location weren’t so lucky. Many swam in the dark to get to the shelter due to extensive flooding.
Many of the injuries treated at Trent Park weren’t life-threatening. Rodgers helped administer basic first aid, but recalls the importance of providing emotional support to her patients as well, many of whom were escaping flooded homes and devastating damage.
Rodgers tells MartinsvilleBulletin.com, “Our role was basic first aid. We cared for minor cuts and bruises, but we were also there providing emotional support. We weren’t just caring for the outside injuries, but the inside injuries. You think about a nurse tending to a wound, but there’s a lot more that we do…It was all about helping people at a basic level of humanity.”
To learn more about Careen Rodgers and her generous efforts in helping survivors of Hurricane Florence, visit here.