College of Nursing

What He Needed

11/19/2012 12:00:00 AM - Jill Bickham

Early one May morning, BYU nursing student Marissa Flinders was headed to a clinical experience in Tainan, Taiwan, for her Global Health and Human Diversity course. When she saw a group, including some fellow BYU nursing students, huddled in the middle of the road, she knew something was very, very wrong.

Two men driving mopeds collided at almost full speed just moments before Flinders and her fellow student, Nicole Pulsipher, arrived. One of the mopeds was still lying on top of one of the drivers. Flinders and Pulsipher rushed to take it off of him as other nursing students helped the other man.

Flinders says, “We knew that the first thing we needed to do was stabilize his C-spine and check his airway. While Chelsea [Jordan] sat on the ground and struggled to stabilize his head and neck, I checked his mouth and found that he had knocked out his front teeth.”

By this point, the man had regained consciousness and was starting to struggle. He seemed most concerned with all of the blood, so Flinders began wiping it away for him. “As I finished wiping the blood from his hand, he did something I wasn’t expecting. He reached up and grabbed the upper part of my arm, and made eye contact with me for the first time.” Seeing how scared he was, Flinders did the only thing she could do to communicate with him — she held his hand between both of hers and smiled at him. “As we waited for the paramedics to arrive, I knew that what he needed was for someone to hold his hand and give him comfort during this frightening moment.”

After twenty minutes, the EMTs arrived and took both men to the Chi Mei Medical Center where the man Flinders helped was treated for several facial fractures and a closed head injury. Flinders says, “I realized that [in addition to] stabilizing the C-spine or assessing airways, breathing, or circulation. [Nursing is also] about providing comfort and compassionate care to patients during some of their most painful and frightening times.” She continues, “Even though it may be challenging to communicate with a patient who speaks a different language, you can still show the love and compassion you have for them through eye contact, facial expressions, and body language.”