Ga. School Nurses Train to Stop the Bleed
Feb. 01—It's the kind of training no nurse hopes to have to use.
All of Glynn County's school nurses gathered Tuesday at the Golden Isles College and Career Academy to learn how to assess and handle trauma situations in which a person has a life-threatening bleeding wound.
They were taught how to use life-saving bleeding control kits that have been provided to the school system through the "Stop the Bleed Georgia" program, launched in 2017 by the Georgia Trauma Commission.
"The focus of the program is immediate response to bleeding," said Jennifer Kraus, a volunteer instructor who works for Air Evac. "... If you're at a school, it's going to take about 10 minutes for a squad to get there, and that's a lot of time if you've got a really big bleeder."
The Georgia Trauma Commission collaborated with the Georgia Society of the American College of Surgeons and the Georgia Committee on Trauma to create the "Stop the Bleed" campaign, which is designed to train school teachers, nurses and staff across the state on how to render immediate and potentially life-saving medical aid to injured students and co-workers while waiting for professional responders to arrive.
Every Glynn County school will soon receive 12 trauma kits, which include combat application tourniquets, several types of gauze, gloves and written instructions.
"I'm happy they're going back to tourniquets," said Agnes Stevenson, the school nurse at Oglethorpe Point Elementary, during the training.
Krauss and Joshua Bain, a volunteer instructor from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security, trained the nurses Tuesday. The session included a PowerPoint presentation and hands-on practice applying tourniquets onto styrofoam-covered pipes.
Bain said the course offers a refresher lesson for most school nurses.
"Even for nurses with a medical background, the one good thing is you don't deal with a whole lot of trauma, at a school," he said.
The nurses were told first to call 911, then to locate the bleeding injury and apply direct pressure and to use a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
"You're going to apply it above the bleeding site, and you're going to tighten until the bleeding stops," Krauss said. "The patient is going to say it hurts. That means you're doing it right."
Uncontrolled bleeding is the No. 1 cause of preventable death from an injury, according to the "Stop the Bleed" campaign, but 20 percent of people who've died from uncontrolled bleeding could have survived.
"If (the tourniquet's) applied directly, the blood flow will stop," Krauss said. "You can then pack that wound to make sure that bleeding is stopped."
Once the tourniquet has been properly applied, emergency medical officials have four to six hours to remove it and save the limb, she said.
The "Stop the Bleed" campaign has received a tremendous outpouring of support so far, Bain said. More than 200 schools have brought the volunteer instructors in to train nurses and staff, and more than 29,000 kits have been distributed.
"Hopefully, you guys will take (this training) into the schools and teach all your teachers and any staff ... anybody you can think of who could use this training," Bain said.