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It was pure luck that placed Kelly Russell and her nursing classmate on Highway K in O’Fallon, Mo., when a terrible car accident happened just feet away from them this past fall.
“A truck t-boned a car. We just happened to be there,” Kelly recalled.
Kelly and her friend, who were the first ones on the scene, ran over to help the man in the car, who had a large laceration on his forehead and was already soaked in blood. Lucky for him, Kelly had just passed her neurological assessment at SCC hours before.
“I immediately put pressure on his head and performed a full neurological exam. I checked his eyes, if he could move his hands and asked if he knew who he was, where he was and what year it was. By the time the paramedics arrived the bleeding had stopped,” Kelly said.
Being a patient care technician, this was the first field experience that Kelly had. The St. Charles Community College nursing program has a tradition of preparing its students, like Kelly, for top-notch patient care.
“She was one of our outstanding level one nursing students. Kelly worked hard to understand how theory is applied to patient care,” said Liza Willis, associate professor of nursing.
“SCC prepared me for my old career as a patient care tech and also for my new career as a nurse practitioner,” Kelly said.
Russell, who has always wanted to be a nurse, started her education at SCC.
“I chose SCC because it was convenient and inexpensive. I really liked it there because the labs are well-equipped and the faculty was very dedicated to giving you the knowledge you need to be the best nurse possible. I’d already been in the medical field for 17 years, but I learned so much more at SCC than I anticipated.”
Kelly, who was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa at SCC, went on to receive a job at BJC-St. Peter's Emergency Department as a staff nurse and recently moved to Florida where she is working in the Sacred Heart Pediatric Emergency Department.
"I can truly say that getting my nursing degree changed my life," she said.
Updated: July 19, 2018