This post is written by MEPN student, Karen Kriger
On Sunday, June 3rd, MEPN students arrived at 6:00 am to check in as a volunteer for the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon. Several medical tents were set up throughout the course of the race to provide acute first aid for over 26,000 runners!
The first thoughts that come to mind about a marathon for most spectators are sweat, strength, determination, and runners overcome with joy as they cross the finish line! However, as nursing students and medical volunteers, for us, the thoughts are muscle cramps, altered electrolyte status, altered cognition, hyperthermia, and injuries as runners approach the finish line.
It was a hot day, with the temperature creeping up into the high 70s, causing the core body temperature of some of the runners to reach dangerously high levels. There were a few athletes who were brought into the finish line medical tent unconscious with a core body temperature of 107 or 108 degrees. It was critical and time sensitive for the medical team to decrease their core temperature back to a normal thermic range before organ damage occurred.
MEPN volunteers at the finish line medical tent worked as part of the medical team, consisting of Physicians, Registered Nurses and EMTs, to stabilize these critical patients. MEPNs worked quickly, and under pressure, to obtain a blood pressure and core body temperature, while submerging these patients in an ice bath. I found the team oriented environment and organized chaos of volunteering at the finish line to be a small taste of life as an Emergency Medicine nurse.
Volunteering at Rock n Roll was excellent opportunity for MEPN volunteers to work alongside other medical providers from the San Diego area, and gain hands on experience with triaging and emergency care. Volunteering at community events allows students to gain new experiences and practice skills that cannot be gained in a classroom, and MEPN volunteers are already looking forward to volunteering at the next marathon!
MEPN students (Left to right): Caleb Kuo, Megan O’Mahoney, Hannah Lim, Hannah Penney, Melissa Holliser and Natalie Mata
MEPN Students (Left to right): Karen Kriger, Evan Gum (class of 2018), Kelsey Marckstadt, Hilary Willis, Thalia Quezada