Great story! http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_18706652?source=most_emailed
It started out like any other trip up north for Ashia-Lee Brown. She was there for a vacation and to visit her parents in Tulare for her birthday.
On a Tuesday in early August, Brown and her mother decided to go the mall to celebrate Brown's birthday by going shopping.
As the two drove on a rural road not too far from Tipton, Brown remembers seeing what she described as a "junk yard" sprawled on the side of the highway.
Brown, who had been looking for a nursing job, quickly realized it was car parts that littered the road. The result of a horrible accident.
"I just pulled over. I don't even think I told my mom anything. I just jumped out of the car," Brown said as she recounted the incident from her home in Norco. "I felt they needed me and I had to go do something."
Having just graduated from West Coast University in Ontario in June, Brown said her emergency training kicked in.
"It felt second nature to me," she said.
What had occurred only moments before was a collision between a Tulare County van and pickup truck that had run a stop sign.
Nine people including a male adult driver and eight teenagers were in the van. The male was the only driver in the pickup, she said.
Many of the bodies had landed in a muddy cornfield just to the side of the road, Brown said.
Immediately, Brown said she went in to triage mode determining who needed the most aide. There were three that had deceased and others who experienced some minor injuries.
As the 5-foot-4 Brown waded through the watery cornfield, which reached up to her knees, she came across a male teen who was holding himself up by holding on to a tire.
"I was focused on two boys. One was about 15 years old and couldn't feel the bottom of his body," she said. "He was screaming and starting to panic and I had to tell him to stay calm and take deep breaths."
While she tended to the most severe, Brown said her training at the university came in.
"That's part of the major reason to nursing. I wanted to be able to help and I didn't panic," Brown said. "You also can't show any signs of panic. If you show any emotion it make the situation worse."
Dr. Jeb B. Egbert, as the provost for West Coast University, said he was really proud of Brown for her response.
"Her courage and instinct she showed as a result of the accident and her contributions to those who were in need is just exceptional," he said.
In terms of her preparation, Egbert said that her knows her training at the university played a big part.
"We take a lot of pride in how we help our students prepare for such emergencies," he said.
It took about 15 minutes for emergency responders to arrive and when they did, Brown was able to tell them, to the extent of her knowledge the injuries they had sustained. Even after the youth were taken to the hospital, Brown made sure to stay in touch with the family. To see how the two male teens were doing.
"It made me feel I had found what I needed to do," she said. "I found my calling in nursing."
But that wasn't always the case.
Brown's interest in nursing first came from a personal experience several years ago when she delivered her daughter.
After experiencing some complications during her pregnancy, Brown was told by nurses to take some medication and go home.
When she returned for delivery, the nurses had suspected she was using drugs.
"I wanted to help make a difference. Make sure that patient factor was preserved," the 26-year-old said.
At that time, Brown was working as an executive assistant and was pursuing a degree in business administration.
Shortly after her daughter's birth in 2008 Brown made the drastic career change.
She went on to obtain her licensed vocational nurse credential.
Ultimately, Brown said she would like to be in an acute care setting, working in a emergency room.
It is a competitive field and Brown has been having a hard time finding openings, she said.
While Brown said she has not suffered any trauma from the experience it has taught her a valuable lesson.
"You see thing from a whole different perspective, you learn to cherish the people in your lives," she said.