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In addition to her dedication to helping others as a surgical trauma nurse at Indianapolis University Health Methodist Hospital, Nurse of the Week Colby Snyder believes in being a good citizen. “It’s really on us, the younger generation, to push for change…” she says, so in addition to helping people register to vote this year, Snyder volunteered at one of Indianapolis’ polling places during the general election. The mounting pandemic spurred a special call for younger poll volunteers, and she quickly stepped forward: “There was a huge push for younger people to work this year, just to help protect that [elderly] age group.” She reflected, “I don’t know, I just wanted to help wherever I could.”

Snyder’s professional and civic duties ended up coinciding during her shift at the polls, though, when a voter collapsed while waiting on line. “I heard a little bit of commotion but didn’t think anything of it,” she says, “and then I turned and saw someone sitting on the floor.” The person on the floor was a female voter. When Snyder came over and asked how she was doing, the voter said that she had not eaten all day and felt light-headed. After Snyder brought her some apple sauce, she recounted, the voter “[said] she wanted to lay down and was pretty shaky… as soon as she went to lay back she went limp.” The poll volunteer-slash-trauma nurse tended to her unexpected patient until the EMS team arrived.

The incident at the polls was Snyder’s second recent foray into nursing outside her usual 12-hour shifts at the hospital. She says, “This happened to me two weeks ago in Kroger!” As she was grocery shopping, Snyder heard someone calling for help and saw a fellow customer laying in the aisle. “He had labored breathing at first and then it stopped,” she recalls. Snyder gave the man chest compressions while they waited for the EMTs: “As soon as EMS was called, I knew they’d be there soon. But prior to them arriving, he started to breathe again.”

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Since her experience at the polls, Snyder has been fielding calls from reporters, friends and co-workers, but she says that she simply did what came naturally to her. “It’s strange to be getting all this acknowledgment because you don’t think you did anything special really,” she remarked.

To see a video interview with Colby Snyder, click here.

Koren Thomas
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