Student nurse's initiative leads to crucial procedure for young patient

Published 01.04.2023

Nursing & Health Sciences
Alumni News

Caroline N. Green, who since graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's in nursing, was recently profiled in Geisinger Medical Center's internal newsletter for her life-saving reaction to a child in distress. Green summoned medical attention after noticing the youngster's near-unresponsive state during her clinical assignment at Muncy a year ago, prompting his transport to emergency surgery.

The article is reprinted here with permission.

Caroline N. GreenCaroline Green, student nurse, put her passion into action in the Geisinger Medical Center Muncy ED

Caroline Green knew at a very young age that she wanted to be a nurse. While growing up, her family experienced several medical emergencies that gave her the nudge to enroll in nursing school. While working on her nursing degree, she decided also to enter the healthcare workforce. She accepted a job as a patient care technician at Geisinger Medical Center Muncy (GMCM) in January of 2022.

One of Caroline’s requirements for her nursing curriculum is the completion of an 84-hour clinical preceptorship that is designed for senior students based on their interest and desired career path. Caroline was able to do this assignment in the emergency department (ED) at GMCM.

On Oct. 25, as a part of her preceptorship clinical hours, Caroline was triaging patients. The ED was extremely busy that day. She indicated that she had just cleaned and sanitized one of the examination rooms. She then went to the waiting room to get the next patient when she noticed a woman holding a young child who looked very lethargic. When Caroline approached the woman, she tried to arouse the child, but he was not responding normally. Caroline immediately took the child and his family to an examination room and began to triage him. Caroline reported that “his vitals were very alarming to me. He looked unresponsive so I tried to arouse him with a light sternal rub, and he did not respond. I knew something was wrong, so at that very moment I ran out of the room to get help.”

Caroline called for Christopher Cardillo, DO, and Kim Naus, RN, and told them that the child she was triaging was very ill and nearly unresponsive and that he needed immediate medical care. Dr. Cardillo responded right away and examined the child. It was quickly decided that the child needed to be transported to Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) for emergency surgery to save his life.

The surgeons at GMC reported that the child was “within minutes” of not surviving. They credited Carolyn with saving his life. The patient’s parents were extremely grateful for Caroline’s skill at recognizing the dire condition of their child as well her immediate call to action. Kim Naus, RN, commented that, “Without Caroline’s quick assessment and notifying me that something was not right, the child could have had a very different outcome.”

Hayley Estright, RN, Caroline’s preceptor at GMCM, said, “I met Caroline when she was first employed for Geisinger as a technician in the ED, and I immediately went right to my manager and told her we needed to hire Caroline. She's great – motivated, ambitious, kind and caring.”

When asked about the events that transpired that day in October, Hayley said, “Caroline went out to the waiting room and noticed that the child did not look well. She picked up on that and immediately got him back to a room – ultimately saving his life. That's the thing with Caroline, you don’t have to tell her to do things. She takes the initiative and just does what needs to be done, which is an awesome trait to have as a nurse.”

Caroline will graduate with her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Pennsylvania College of Technology this December. She wants to practice nursing in emergency medicine and then eventually transition to Life Flight. Thankfully, she didn’t wait until graduation to put her passion for nursing and emergency medicine into action.

Photo provided