If SUNY CCC sophomore nursing student Emilie Couse needed validation that she was pursuing the right career path, she certainly got it on July 15, 2018. Emilie was working at the Elmira Wegmans when William Wood approached the Customer Service desk. He asked Emilie if they sold tickets to Spiedie Fest.
“The next thing I knew the upper half of his body was leaning towards my computer screen,” said the Elmira native. “He fell to the floor as I started to look up at him.”
William, who appeared fine just moments prior, was now unconscious on the Wegman’s floor. Emilie ran to his side to check his pulse. Nothing.
“I got the AED [Automated External Defibrillator] machine off the wall while [Wegman’s employee Samantha Rousell] began CPR,” said Emilie. “It shocked him once and then I took over doing chest compressions for a while before it shocked him a second time.”
Meanwhile, Erin Herrick, a registered nurse from Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital came over to assist and begin chest compressions. William was shocked once more before the ambulance arrived and took over.
“To have everyone working together was crucial in trying to help Mr. Wood,” said Emilie. “Everyone played a huge part in saving his life.”
For Emilie, this was her first time in a non-hospital setting. It was also her first time on her own. As a student nurse she is accustomed to experienced nurses taking over serious medical situations.
“When you, the student nurse, are in a situation like that, you realize that you are the one who has the most knowledge,” said Emilie. “You just have to rely on what you’ve been taught in the clinical setting and in CPR classes.”
Emilie credits SUNY CCC and the nursing faculty for giving students the hands-on experience that prepared her to take action.
“Without the teaching the nursing staff at [SUNY] CCC has provided me, I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to take control of the situation,” she said.
Moving forward, Emilie plans to use this experience throughout the remainder of her time in the clinical setting.
“There is no greater feeling that knowing this experience is going to help me move forward in the medical field,” said Emilie.