Right Place at the Right Time: Nursing Student Saves a Woman’s Life While on Break During Her Clinical
By Molly Andersen on 01/03/2024
Looking back, Chelsea Luikart, a Professional Nursing (ADN/RN) Associate’s degree student at the Rasmussen University Ocala campus, says her life-saving moment was truly a case of being at the right place at the right time. In fact, she had only been outside a few minutes before noticing an elderly woman holding her throat and gasping for air. Chelsea’s quick actions saved that woman’s life that day and earned her the Rasmussen University Act of Heroism Award.
Passion for Helping Others
Chelsea lives to help others. Already a proud Rasmussen graduate, she earned her Practical Nursing (LPN) Diploma in June 2023, and is currently working in a pediatric special needs clinic in the Ocala, Florida, area. Her goal, she says, is to become a registered nurse (RN), which is why she is continuing her education at Rasmussen through the LPN to RN Bridge option. Chelsea plans to complete her ADN in September 2024, and continue working at the pediatric clinic.
“My time at Rasmussen has been nothing short of a blessing, and I am grateful for every staff member that has helped me through my entire journey,” said Chelsea.
It’s that passion for helping others that led to Chelsea’s life-saving response on December 1, 2023.
As Chelsea shared, “To me, it was just a woman who needed help, so I helped her. It wasn’t until my instructors and classmates started congratulating me that I realized this was really a life-or-death situation.”
Right Place at the Right Time
Chelsea and her classmates were not even planning on going outside that day. They were on a lunch break during their clinical rotation at Advent Health Ocala when Chelsea says her classmates decided to join their clinical instructor outside after they finished eating. Just five minutes later, Chelsea says she noticed a woman who was sitting at a table behind her instructor holding her hands at her throat.
“I stood up and yelled, ‘She’s choking!’,” said Chelsea. “My instructor thought I said she’s stroking, so she ran to get help. I immediately ran to the woman and performed the Heimlich maneuver.”
Thankfully, Chelsea was able to successfully remove the blockage and save the woman's life.
“I remember the woman starting to feel limp in my arms so the situation could have ended much worse,” said Chelsea. “I was sent outside for a reason, and I’m so glad I was able to help.”
Immediately following the incident, nurses from inside the hospital came out to help the woman. Chelsea, with a sense of humility, returned to her seat to give them all space. Later, her instructor encouraged Chelsea to introduce herself to the woman.
“The woman shared with me that she has difficulty eating sometimes, and for whatever reason, she lost focus while chewing and began choking,” said Chelsea. “I regret not getting the woman’s name, but I’m so glad my instructor encouraged me to speak with her.”
Act of Heroism Award
It didn’t take long for Chelsea’s story to spread throughout her nursing cohort and campus. Soon, she was receiving messages of congratulations from across the University. Then, a week after the incident, Chelsea’s clinical instructor presented Chelsea with the Rasmussen University Act of Heroism Award at the same hospital she saved the woman’s life.
“This was my first time in this type of situation, and as a nurse, I know it won’t be my last. I am incredibly grateful for everyone’s support,” said Chelsea.
Rasmussen takes pride in acknowledging and celebrating the extraordinary efforts of students like Chelsea, reinforcing the values of compassion, readiness and clinical expertise that define our Nursing programs. Chelsea’s story is a shining example of the profound impact a Rasmussen Nursing student can have in the community, embodying the University’s commitment to producing healthcare professionals who make a positive difference in the world.
You can learn more about Rasmussen’s Nursing programs by visiting the School of Nursing page.