Vidant Beaufort boasts over 600 ‘Heartsavers’

Published 6:12 pm Thursday, May 11, 2017

Vidant Beaufort Hospital and surrounding practices now boast more than 600 personnel who are CPR certified.

As part of its goal for more community involvement, a group of eight organizers came together to offer free CPR classes for non-clinical staff, from volunteers and human resources employees, to President Harvey Case. A total of 193 staff members completed one of the 44 Heartsaver classes offered for free over the course of a month and a half.

The eight organizers included: Amanda Johnson, assistant nurse manager; Maria Stalls, physical therapist; Jan Hamblin, manager of volunteer services; Alene Payne, cardiopulmonary services manager; Jenny Brown, director of human resources; Nat Gladding, manager of emergency services; Mary Ellen Foreman, quality nurse; and Sherry Glover, education coordinator.

“Vidant Health’s mission is to be a national model for rural health care,” said Pam Shadle, manager of public relations and marketing at Vidant Beaufort. “All of us combined really feel like we can lead the way.”

The Heartsaver course teaches students how to properly perform CPR, perform the Heimlich maneuver and use an automated external defibrillator. The course is also geared toward non-clinical staff, and certification lasts for two years.

Hearing stories of how everyday people save lives thanks to CPR training is what pushed the group toward reaching as many people as possible.

Gladding said he recently experienced someone choking on a kayak trip and was on hand to save the person, although anyone could jump in if trained. The story of two nurses and a yoga instructor who helped a man collapsed on Main Street and suffering cardiac arrest also inspired organizers, Gladding said.

“What a great opportunity. They could all know CPR, not just to use it in the hospital … but for their own families and for the community,” he said.

“Those stories kind of helped us meet our goal,” Brown added.

Hospital employees don’t want to stop there, however. New hires will be offered the course, as well as junior volunteers over the summer, according to Hamblin.

“We’re always trying to think about, how do we improve?” Brown said. “What are we doing different? How are we making a difference?”

In the future, the hospital may even consider a similar program for the general public. The overall goal is to teach the life-saving skills to as many people as possible and better serve the community.

“You don’t need to be scared of it. Just jump in and do it,” Johnson said. “Not only did we grow from here, we’re also growing at other places.”