What did you do this summer?

Hallie Gatto: UPMC Passavant

It was approaching the end of an exhausting evening shift when my preceptor and I heard over the intercom condition C, meaning that there was a medical emergency on another floor. We were working just a floor below and without a word my preceptor and I rushed for the stairs! When we arrived we saw a young blonde woman who was in respiratory distress, desperate for a breath of air. Due to her previous experience on the floor of responding to conditions such as these my preceptor jumped into action without hesitation. For me however, this was my first time and I felt my body become tense. The room was roaring with a large and determined healthcare team. I stood there frozen by the intensity of the room, watching her struggle was excruciating. I felt as though there was nothing I could do because I was ‘just a nursing student’.

Finally, I caught a glimpse of the patients face covered in terror. I snapped out of my own fear as I heard her hollering “Am I going to be okay?!” in between each frantic gasp for air. She looked around the room for reassurance, but the team was busy at work making sure she was okay. I squeezed her hand with confidence and she squeezed back as she sat up to make eye contact with me. We stared back at one another and I assured her that she had a remarkable team fighting with her for her life. She leaned back into her bed and had a look of relief. She then began responding positively to the commands of the respiratory therapist.

As I walked back to my unit I had an overwhelming feeling of happiness. I will never think of myself as ‘just a nursing student’ again.

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