For several Samuel Merritt University nursing students in the accelerated BSN program from the San Mateo Learning Center, Dec. 5 is a day they will never forget. "It was 6:30 a.m. We were in the cafeteria at Kaiser Permanente Hayward Hospital waiting for our supervisor to give us our assignments for the day when we heard this loud scream come from the parking lot," said student Angela Rayzor. "At first, we thought it was a drill."
The group ran outside toward the screams. "The father, along with three small kids, was in a panic running around the van. And there was a woman standing outside the van door, leaning against a transport wheelchair, struggling with pain," student Kim Davies said. "As we got closer, she pulled her pants down and we could see the baby's head was crowning."
As the mother screamed, "The baby's coming," Davies' instincts took over. The nursing student fell to her knees, hitting the pavement just in time to catch the baby girl.
Education in Action
"I saw the woman and though she looked very scared, she was relieved that we caught the baby," student Jeannette De Dios said. Then like clockwork, the team of nursing students quickly began evaluating the baby. Rayzor was the first to yell, "skin to skin."
"We learned in simulation that a premature delivery, or in a precipitous birth, you put the baby directly on the mom's belly to keep it warm," Rayzor said. "She wasn't crying much, which worried me. I knew I had to do something immediately so that the baby would not lose any more warmth."
The SMU students continued to evaluate the baby, assessing her breathing and pulse. De Dios and Davies started vigorously massaging the baby's face and nose to remove any secretions or blockages that might hinder breathing. "It was hard to tell if the baby was breathing or not because it was so cold," Rayzor said. "She still looked so blue, but once the baby started to cough and cry, we all felt better."
At that moment, student Raymonde Monge arrived with two nurses from the hospital's L&D department. "I ran inside to find help. Once I explained there was a woman having a baby in the parking lot, we all ran downstairs - but not before I grabbed some gloves for my classmates. I thought, just in case they needed additional pair of hands, we are now prepared!"
Moments of Reflection
The group's only labor preparation was through simulation training they completed two weeks earlier. "I was just amazed at how each of us contributed," De Dios said. "It was definitely a team effort."
The team cites the program and assistant professor Laurie Rosa, RN, MS, for everything they learned. "I don't know if I would have responded the same had I not had that simulation class," Rayzor said. "Simulation training is crucial."
"It is so strangely miraculous that these dedicated and mature nursing students, who just started their intense 12-month program this semester and took a simulation course in labor and delivery just a couple of weeks ago, would be helping this family by delivering their baby," Rosa said. "It is a testament to our university preparing nurses to not simply succeed academically but to critically and practically apply the knowledge, theory and skills of nursing practice."