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Regions nurse saves a life during church service

Emily Druffner sprang into action when a man collapsed in a pew behind her

Emily Druffner, RN, works in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Regions Hospital. She works 12-hour nights every third weekend. And this spring, she was working an overnight shift on a Saturday. Emily was planning to meet her family the next morning for a service at a church in Bayport, Minn. But work almost got in the way. Fate seemed to step in, though, when a fellow nurse offered to take over with two of Emily’s patients. That allowed her to leave just in time to make it to the Sunday morning service.

“It just happened that I ended up going to that service when I easily might not have,” Emily said.

While she was at church with her baby, husband, and his two brothers, she heard someone behind her say, “I think we need to call 911.”

A nurse is never really off-duty

Emily quickly turned around and saw a man hunched over and unresponsive. She handed her baby to her husband and jumped to action. But the man was not waking up. She tested for a pulse, and found none. So, she pulled him out of the pew and got him on a flat surface, where another woman tested for a pulse with the same result.

The other woman started giving the man chest compressions, and then Emily, using her training, took over.

“Regions does a great job of training us for this, so I felt very prepared and confident,” Emily said.

Helping save a life

After two rounds of CPR, the man regained consciousness. The ambulance arrived, and Emily helped move him onto the stretcher. He was then taken to Regions Hospital.

“I never really expected to have to do something like this when I was not at work, but I guess I’m never really off duty,” Emily said.

The next week, she got a call from Bayport Police Chief Laura Eastman. The Bayport Police Department awarded Emily with a Lifesaving Award. It was only the second time Chief Eastman has given this award during her career.

Bayport Police Chief Laura Eastman presents Regions Hospital nurse Emily Druffner with a Lifesaving Award. Photo courtesy of the Bayport Police Department.

How Regions helped prepare Emily

At the church, Emily didn’t have the help of the medication or tools she would normally have access to in Regions’ Medical ICU. Instead, she was faced with saving a life using only her nursing experience and help from others in the church congregation. And she says that made her realize the appreciation and respect she has for her fellow nurses and how Regions cultivates team effort. She says when it comes to saving a patient, much of the success really is a result of how well the team works together.

“If you pursue and use the talents you are given to the fullest, you can make a difference in the world,” Emily said. “And this is why I feel really proud to be a part of Regions. It’s a place where I can truly be a part of an amazing organization.”

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