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Nurse secures medical device for school
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Nurse secures medical device for school

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Catawba County paramedic Melanie Sigmon and Catawba County Public Health school nurse Sandy Wilson train Snow Creek Elementary School staff on how to use an automated external defibrillator.

HICKORY, N.C. — Catawba County Public Health school nurse Sandy Wilson, RN, BSN, NCSN, presented an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Snow Creek Elementary School. The device will offer lifesaving services to more than 500 children, staff, and community members.

Wilson secured $1,150 to pay for the AED. When Wilson first learned of a potential AED grant opportunity from a fellow school nurse, she didn’t hesitate to apply for the support. She was awarded a $250 grant from CPR Savers and partnered with Snow Creek Elementary School’s PTO to raise the rest of the money.

In addition to securing the grant, Wilson invited Catawba County paramedics Billie Peeler and Melanie Sigmon to Snow Creek Elementary School to help train all of the school’s staff on how to use the device and how to perform hands-only CPR.

According to the American Heart Association, most people who experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location, like school, die because they don't receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene.

“As a school nurse, it’s my job to educate and prepare school staff to confidently handle potential student health situations or emergencies,” Wilson said. “Sometimes an AED is not at the exact location where an emergency occurs, which is why I wanted the staff to learn about CPR, one of the first steps taken after someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest. CPR and an AED work together to increase a victim’s chance of survival.”

The American Heart Association’s website outlines some of the lifesaving tips Wilson, Peeler, and Sigmon taught to Snow Creek Elementary School staff, such as, calling 9-1-1 and pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the classic disco song "Stayin' Alive" if you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse. CPR can more than double a person's chances of survival, and "Stayin' Alive" has the right beat for Hands-Only CPR.

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