Round the Clock
By Don Bowman
NURSING STUDENT BY DAY AND EMT BY NIGHT
For Courtney Stover ’18, health care and service are family traditions.
As a team leader and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for the Christiansburg Rescue Squad (CRS) and as a Radford University nursing student, Stover is extending her family’s professional heritage.
“Interest and service in the health care field run in the family. Mom is a nurse, dad is a firefighter and a bunch of cousins are EMTs,” she said.
Family tradition is not the only reason that Stover volunteers to drive an ambulance speeding through the night, work car accidents along Interstate 81 and confront a first-responder’s other challenges.
“I knew nursing would be hard, and I wanted to be as well prepared as I could be,” said Stover, who is conversant in medical terminology, technology and procedures as a result of the accelerated two-month EMT course she completed in 2015 on her own initiative. The subsequent two years of responding to accidents, participating in missing-person searches and supporting police, fire and other emergency calls have added depth and confidence.
The junior also works with the Carilion Medical Center Patient Transfer unit in Roanoke, ferrying patients home or to other facilities.
As her days only contain 24 hours, Stover decided to sit this year out as a high school basketball official to focus on completing the rigorous nursing program and fulfilling her duties as a team leader at the CRS.
Assistant Professor of Nursing Sarah Gilbert said Stover brings a valuable perspective that the School of Nursing is incorporating. In November, Gilbert’s rescue squad teammates worked with Radford University nursing students at the Radford Simulation Center. Together, they explored the teamwork involved in patient hand-off and pickup to better understand patient care from the two jobs’ perspectives.
“Courtney has brought an unusual and valuable perspective and she has shared it to the benefit of our current students and students in the future as well as the patients with whom they will work,” said Gilbert. “Her connection and experience have enabled us to explore in detail an often overlooked interprofessional relationship that can influence the successful treatment of a patient.”
The patients with whom Stover works as an EMT are extremely vulnerable, she said. From her experiences in the ambulance or in the hospital, Stover recognizes that compassion and empathy are as important as her mastery of the ever-changing technical knowledge and skills of either of her health care jobs.
“Illness and injury require my full attention as an EMT. I see patients in a time of great need,” said Stover. “As a nurse, I look forward to playing an even more important part in helping a patient along their journey toward a return to everyday life.”
As part of her nursing studies, Stover has been immersed in the requisite clinical rotations. She said has already felt the warmth and satisfaction nurses count on to balance the trauma and fear that their patients endure.
“When a patient says ‘thank you’ for helping them in even a small way, it is nice to feel that I am making a difference,” said Stover. “I like being part of someone’s miracle.”
As a basketball player, a rescue squad member and now as a nursing student, Stover appreciates the camaraderie and commitment that unites a team.
Trust and humor, along with rigorous training, have forged a connection among her rescue squad colleagues that she said stabilizes them for their difficult calls. Stover has felt the same vibe at work in the SON.
“You can see it and feel it with my classmates as we come together. My study group is like sisters working as hard to help each other succeed as we do on our own,” Stover said. “The faculty’s professionalism has inspired me and their kindness has encouraged me through some difficult times. I love them all.”