ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – The training exercise began with ABC.

It was a code for saving lives, for keeping injured persons from bleeding to death. It was explained as a process that anyone can do.

The A stood for Assessment/Alert. Gauge the situation and call 911.

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The B stood for Bleeding. Identify where the bleeding is coming from.

And the C stood for Compression. Pack the wound, compress it, and apply a tourniquet.

The training took place during a recent Thursday Forum in the University Club above the dining hall. The trainers were three faculty members in the St. Bonaventure RN to B.S. in Nursing Program. And the PowerPoint that was used at the start of the training had been developed by the American College of Surgeons for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and launched in 2015 as a national awareness campaign called “Stop the Bleed.” 

Suzanne Soltysik, an assistant clinical professor who holds a doctor of nursing practice degree, took the helm for the first part of the program. She stressed the importance of making contact with emergency personnel before starting the compression process.

"Once you start applying the pressure, you can't stop,' she said. "First, you've got to let someone know where you are."

She asked attendees if they knew what materials were suitable for packing wounds. Some suggested clothing or gauze. One said he had learned during another training that women's sanitary pads worked well.

Soltysik added tampons also work well.

For a tourniquet, a belt will work. So will strips of clothing. But the key is to tie the tourniquet tight, so tight the injured will complain they are losing circulation.

During the second  part of the program, attendees had the chance to fill a wound on a prothesis and to wrap and tighten a tourniquet above the wound.  Dr. Connie Perkins, who is the founding director of the RN to B.S. program, and Erin Lundeen, a lecturer who holds a master of science in nursing, watched and supervised the participants and gave out signed certificates of completion.

Lundeen later explained that as medical professionals they feel a responsibility to help the community.

“We’re here not only to teach our students but also to give back to our community by teaching them to be prepared,” Lundeen said. “As a nurse you have to take care of people all day long. Part of that is critical thinking to feel like 'I need to be prepared for what could happen.' Putting on 'Stop the Bleed’ was a no brainer for us.”

The three faculty members plan to do at least one training event every semester during the foreseeable future. They have been in contact with St. Bonaventure’s Medical Emergency Response Team about conducting training courses for CPR and for Narcan, an opioid reversal drug that is used to negate the effects of an overdose.

Perkins, who holds a Ph.D. in nursing education, explained that she feels it is important for everyone to attend these training events because medical professionals are not always around.

“I really like the whole idea of turning people into by-doers instead of bystanders,” Perkins said, “We are at a place in society now where we constantly rely on others, whether it be in a shooting or a car accident. We want people to realize that if you aren’t a doctor or a nurse you can still stop and save a life.”

The next training event will be another “Stop the Bleed” on Feb. 6. It will be open to St. Bonaventure faculty, staff and students

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