Nursing students Billie-Jo Isaac and Joana Miranda with lecturer, Julie Shaw
Nursing students Billie-Jo Isaac and Joana Miranda with lecturer, Julie Shaw 
Nursing students from the University of Plymouth saved a man from choking thanks to clinical skills they had just learned that morning.
Second-year students Joana Miranda and Billie-Jo Isaac were out for lunch at the Beefeater, near the University’s Exeter School of Nursing, when a waitress alerted them to a man in distress.
The man, who had Parkinson’s, had food caught in his throat and wasn’t able to breathe.
Thankfully, having just had a teaching session on resuscitation and choking, the students were able to quickly put their learning into action, with Joana delivering back blows to dislodge the food, while Billie-Jo assisted his wife and kept calm. 
Neither the students nor the pub captured the couple’s names, but were thankful that they responded and recovered well in the immediate aftermath. 
The students now want everyone to learn how to help someone when choking, and are grateful for the teaching they received.
They also want to reach out to the family and extend their best wishes. 

When you’re doing these skills in a clinical environment, there’s an element of control and support from other colleagues, but in the community you just have to trust your learning and your instincts and do it on your own.

The waitress came running over to us and we just kicked into action, and it was so lucky we’d learnt the very technique required just hours earlier. 
It was scary for all of us but I’m so pleased we were able to help. The couple certainly seemed ok afterwards and we didn’t need to call an ambulance, but we’re extending our best wishes and hope they’re both ok.
Joana Miranda, second-year nursing student at the University of Plymouth's Exeter School of Nursing 

We have to learn the skills as part of our course and I’d encourage anyone to learn what to do when someone’s choking, along with basic CPR.

I'd also encourage all fellow students to make the most of the clinical skills sessions and ensure you leave feeling confident to practise choking manoeuvres and basic CPR as, like us, you never know when you might need it.
We practise these skills at university in a supported environment in preparation for helping people in controlled settings like hospitals, but this shows that it really could happen to anyone, anywhere, so the more people who know how to help someone who is choking, the better. I am truly grateful we were there to help.
Billie-Jo Isaac, second-year nursing student at the University of Plymouth's Exeter School of Nursing 

Nurses support people every day by providing critical care in hospitals, primary care, charities and the community, and actions like Joana’s and Billie-Jo’s ultimately helped to save a man’s life.

We’re very proud of what they did and know they will go on to make fantastic nurses. The profession really suits people who are able to keep calm under pressure, so please do look up joining our courses across the South West if you think this could be you. 

Daniel ClarkeDaniel Clarke
Lecturer in Adult Nursing at the University of Plymouth’s Exeter School of Nursing, and a former emergency care nurse

See St John Ambulance guidance on what to do and when 

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