In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

January 3, 2017

New Way Home Turns Into Unique Care Opportunity for Mayo Nurse

By In the Loop

Kelsey Halopka put Mayo Clinic’s primary value into action when she assisted a woman who had fallen outside of the Francis Building.

It's one of the coldest days of the Minnesota winter. Kelsey Halopka is heading home from her job as a nurse at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus when she sees a woman who appears to have fallen on the steps outside an entrance to the Francis Building at the Saint Marys campus of Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester. As the woman struggles to get up, Kelsey's nursing instincts kick in. "I just thought, 'I'm going to go see what's going on to make sure everything's OK,'" she tells us. Kelsey says she checked on the woman and "started asking her questions about what had happened, whether she was OK, whether she was short of breath."

Because the woman was unable to stand on her own, Kelsey helped her sit up and then ran to a nearby entrance for additional help and a wheelchair. "As I was looking for a wheelchair, the hospital's valet parking employees came over to help me," she says. "But we ended up not putting her into the wheelchair because I decided I didn't want to risk injuring her … so we called a Code 45/medical emergency response plan."

As they waited for a response team to arrive, Kelsey stayed by the woman's side. She did her best to keep the woman as warm and comfortable as possible, using her own hat and gloves to prop the woman's head up. When a Gold Cross crew arrived on-scene, Kelsey yielded the woman's treatment to them, wished her well and continued on her way home, thinking that would be the end of her "very small" act of kindness.

After reviewing the security footage, however, Bou Gazley, the Mayo Clinic security guard who was one of the first to respond to Kelsey's Code 45 call, reached out to Kelsey to make sure her good deed received the formal recognition — and thanks — he thought it deserved. "Kelsey went above and beyond to put the needs of the patient — and in this case, a visitor — first," Gazley tells us, adding he "felt the need to point that out to her and her nurse manager."

Even though she appreciates the recognition, Kelsey tells us she still doesn't quite understand what the big deal is. "I don't think I did anything special," she says. "It was just the nurse in me reacting to a situation." And although she tells us other Mayo staff stopped to ask if they needed further help and that "if I hadn't stopped, someone else would have," Kelsey admits the timing was pretty remarkable. "I normally don't take that way home, but I just randomly decided to that day."

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Tags: Bou Gazley, Employee Stories, Kelsey Halopka

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