PAXTON, Mass. - Four nursing students at Anna Maria College are being recognized for their quick thinking when an employee at a local deli collapsed last week while the students were ordering lunch.

What You Need To Know

  • Four nursing students at Anna Maria College recently stepped in to help in a medical emergency

  • An employee at a Paxton deli had collapsed, and Brianna Tooley, Melissa Auger, Abbey Bazinet and Kiyiana Minton assisted

  • Employees who were working at the time say they handled the situation with urgency and professionalism

  • The students said once it became clear there was a real emergency unfolding, their training kicked in

Brianna Tooley, Melissa Auger, Abbey Bazinet and Kiyiana Minton are regulars at Ten West Market in Paxton, but last Friday was far from their typical lunch break.

"We came in and I went up to the counter to order a sandwich, but there was a loud bang and someone started saying 'please call 911," Tooley said. "That's when we realized an emergency was taking place."

The employee who had collapsed is now recovering. All four students are trained how to handle emergency situations, but they had never encountered one before. Two of them went outside to call 911, while the other two stayed behind the counter with the employee who collapsed. 

"When me and Brianna called 911, we stepped outside, but there was no service," Minton said. "That took a bit to connect to the phone, and Melissa and Abbey ran behind the counter and they kind of took action to help respond to the situation, make sure everyone was safe and okay."

Ten West Market owner Darlene Walsh was working when the incident happened, and said the students handled everything with a stunning amount of teamwork and level-headedness, considering they're still in school. 

"It was the middle of lunch, so if you can picture it, a lot of people here ordering sandwiches," Walsh said. "Thank God the girls were here because it was filled with people, they walked around, stepped right in and were very professional. They handled everything so good until EMS came."

In nursing school, it's hard to fully recreate the chaos and confusion of a real emergency, but when it became clear they had to step in, these students were ready. 

"At first I didn't know it was an emergency," Auger explained. "And then once I realized that this was actually a dire situation, I feel like all of the training kicked and I remembered how to do all of the assessments on the patient and make sure she was safe."

"We all know what's going on and we all know how to take care of a situation," Bazinet said. "First, we didn't know what was happening, but when we got behind the counter, we were like 'we know what to do, it's going to be okay."

The experience will help all four Anna Maria seniors prepare for their careers - Tooley wants to be an intensive care nurse, Auger has goals to become a midwife, Bazinet wants to work in an operating room and Minton would like to work in an emergency department.