OCC nursing student demonstrates ‘giving’ inherent of the season

OAKLAND COUNTY, Michigan — If education brings out the best in us, then a health services education surely brings out the best for the benefit of others.

The gift of knowledge passed from excellent instructors to empowered students is the gift that keeps giving as one patient at Huron Valley Sinai Hospital can attest, and is thankful for, in nursing student Saba Putrus. Putrus will graduate from Oakland Community College next month with a degree in nursing, yet already has made a difference in another person’s quality of life—in, literally, his breath of life.

Susan Latoni, an OCC instructor and a critical-care nurse at Huron Valley Sinai, had been caring for the patient, who had been admitted to the intensive-care unit suffering from pneumonia. He recently had been removed from a ventilator, yet was still struggling to get sufficient oxygen. As Latoni notes of the ventilator, “It’s even worse when you have to go back on it a second time.” The next step, potentially: a tracheostomy—essentially, a hole in the throat.

Nursing student Saba Putrus with her instructor Susan Latoni.“I just wanted to see him succeed,” Latoni says. And so she turned to Saba, known for being “very, very compassionate.” 

“I took Saba to the room,” Latoni says, “and explained to her that he was ‘riding the fence’ of going back on the ventilator. I taught Saba how to do chest physiotherapy” and provided guidance for his treatment. Saba remained in the patient’s room, with little break, from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. She performed CPT on the patient and encouraged him to participate in his own treatment, such as coughing and deep breathing.

When Latoni saw the patient later, she says, “he was sound asleep.” And she told Saba, “You are the reason he’s not on a ventilator.” The next week, Latoni assigned Saba to the patient, who “was so happy and thankful to see Saba.”

For her efforts, for making a difference in another person’s quality of life, Saba Putrus was recommended for a medical-surgical award at next month’s graduation. “The commitment, compassion and perseverance she showed for this patient and his condition is a testament to her nursing future,” Latoni wrote to Nina Barkell, herself a member of the OCC nursing faculty. “Saba will be an amazing RN soon.”

Barkell added that “I think this also a testament to Sue’s ability to transfer complex knowledge to the student quickly and effectively. In my opinion, this is what nursing education is all about!”

About OCC

With five campuses in Oakland County, OCC is Michigan’s No. 1 transfer institution, offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates. The College empowers academic and developmental experiences, allowing students to reach their potential and enhance their communities. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the college since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

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