ST.CROIX- It was a cool and cloudy Sunday morning in the Sunny Isle Shopping Center.
The rain sprinkled on the streets while the gray sky flashed with soft lightning. I was expecting a normal day of work at the Payless Shoe Store. However, what I wasn’t expecting would be what I was most prepared for.
Instinctively, I dropped the window cleaner and hurried across the street only to see that there was an elderly male lying unconscious on the ground.
I felt prepared, like I was supposed to be there. During that moment, flashbacks from my nursing lectures at the University of the Virgin Islands and CPR training flooded my mind. I heard the voice of my instructor Ms. Cooper asking me “What are you going to do first?”
In about 10 minutes the ambulance arrived on the scene, the blinking lights and sirens flooded the area as people watched frantically.
A bystander knelt down to the ground to meet me where I helped stop the bleeding. He held on to the man’s arm with a sense of compassion, trying to keep him conscious.
I could feel around me getting warmer. I turned my eyes away from the guy on the floor for the first time and saw many more bystanders staring at me.
The paramedics got the stretcher out and assessed the senior citizen who tried to speak but spoke with a slur. I left him there when the paramedics took over and headed back to work with no sweater.
The sweater I had put on that morning was now under a strangers bleeding head. The adrenaline that was running through my body was now resorting back to its normal composure. I felt calm when I saw the paramedics wheeling out the stretcher and lifting the small framed man off of the hard cold concrete.
The nursing program at UVI prepared me mentally for this situation that required fast action and critical thinking.
Many locals decide to go to nursing school on the mainland but UVI’s nursing program is one of the best nursing programs. It offers an associate degree on the St. Croix campus and bachelor’s degree on the St. Thomas campus.
If anyone is interested in the nursing program at UVI, go for it! The professors and advisors are willing to help and give you step-by-step guidance in the skills you need to learn to help you at the bedside or in emergency situations.
I wasn’t a hero as people said that day. I was just a nursing student, prepared for the worst.