Our Nurse of the Week is Annie Young, a school nurse at Lake Highlands Junior High in Dallas, TX. Young was in the middle of paperwork on a slow Tuesday afternoon when two runners from a last period gym class came barreling into her clinic yelling about a collapsed student. She knew the word “collapse” meant something serious and seeing the panic on the boys’ faces, she grabbed an AED and office aide before following the boys back to the track field.
The collapsed student turned out to be 13-year-old Joe Krejci who was running laps on an outdoor track field when his coach saw him take a dive just shy of the finish line. When Joe stayed still on the ground not making any noise, Coach T started to worry. He found no signs of bleeding or injury, but felt only a faint heartbeat. That’s when he dialed 911 and sent two boys running to find the school nurse.
When Nurse Young reached the track field, she helped Coach T attach the AED shock pads. The AED elicited a “Shock Advised” warning which was enough to force Joe’s heart back into normal rhythm. Then Young began chest compressions while the office aide started mouth to mouth, both of them performing CPR until paramedics arrived a few minutes later.
After making the switch from labor and delivery to school nursing in 2013, Young quickly learned the job wouldn’t be quite as easy as handing out band-aids. Junior high kids are dealing with anxiety disorders and depression, severe allergies, asthma, seizures, and a number of other chronic health issues. At a school with 800 students, Young sees 20-30 kids a day, but she’s not just in charge of treating students. She also has paperwork to fill out, doctors and administrators to consult, prescriptions to track, conditions to monitor, and screenings to organize. Unexpected life-threatening emergencies can also strike at a moment’s notice like in Joe’s case.
Joe had no medical history, but he had gone without oxygen for an estimated six to seven minutes while in cardiac arrest and doctors warned of the severe damage that might have occurred in that time. However, doctors determined a few days later that Joe had lucked out – after a few days of rest he would return to his normal self. Doctors told Joe’s parents he shouldn’t be alive after the cardiac trauma he experienced, but thanks to the care he received from Coach T and Nurse Young, he returned to school a week later.
To learn more about Annie Young and her experience with school nursing, visit here.