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Carrington College Blog

Would You Step Up or Step Back In An Emergency?

August 25, 2014

Imagine is someone collapsed on the floor in front of you – what would you do? Would you step up and take responsibility, or would you succumb to the bystander effect?

Carrington Students Step Up

Lisa White - San Leandro Pharmacy Technology GraduateBack in 2011 Lisa White, at the time a Pharmacy Technology student at our San Leandro, CA, campus, was on her externship at a San Francisco medical center, when a patient started choking in the cafeteria. Lisa stepped in and saved a life. She was recognized at the hospital as a hero, though Lisa insisted she wasn’t; she said she just did what she felt she was supposed to as a health care worker.

In the summer of 2012, two Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program students from our Albuquerque, NM, campus used their knowledge to save two lives. One student recognized the symptoms of a heart attack in a relative; her education helped her recognize the signs, and refer her relative to the ER in time to prevent serious complications. The second incident occurred during a PTA student’s externship; a therapist was choking and she helped that person breathe again by performing the Heimlich Maneuver.

CPRAnd last summer we shared the story of Lori Carpenter, a Vocational Nursing program graduate in Sacramento, who demonstrated the real-world value of her CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training by saving the life of a 3-year-old girl during a day-out at a lake.

These four scary, all too real and all too common, incidents demonstrate how important having the right training can be, no matter what your health care discipline. They also show how important it is to step up, not back, when there’s a life at stake.

Get Your CPR Certification

Our recent blog post – CPR 101 – shared some important tips on how to perform CPR. If you haven’t read it yet, do so now and consider getting your CPR certification, no matter what your discipline. Even knowing the basics of CPR could potentially help you save a life if there’s no one nearby with certification when an emergency arises.

How to Perform CPRWhen CPR is properly executed, it can save someone after a heart attack or after a near-drowning. As this infographic shows, when properly executed, it could even help you save the life of your pet.

Don’t Fall Victim To The Bystander Effect

The term “Bystander Effect” is a well documented sociological occurrence. It has been observed in tests and real-world situations that the greater the number of people present, the less likely someone is to help another in distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are more likely to take action if there are few or no other witnesses. Why does this happen?

There are two major contributing factors. First, when others are around, there’s always the belief that someone else will step up – it’s called diffusion of responsibility. The fact that there are other people around means that you don’t feel the pressure or the responsibility to act.

The second reason is the need most of us have as humans to behave in socially acceptable ways. If others don’t act or react, we assume that a response is not needed or not appropriate…because surely someone else would have got involved if there really was a problem.

Every emergency situation is unique; if there’s a licensed physician or registered nurse nearby, then they should take the lead while someone calls 9-1-1. But if you have your CPR certification, or at the very least a basic understanding of life-saving techniques, don’t stand by and watch when you could help. Step up and save a life like Lori, Lisa and other Carrington students have before you.