Home Carrollton CHS alum co-authors medical study on CPR

CHS alum co-authors medical study on CPR

A 2019 Carrollton High School graduate who was involved in the CHS Healthcare Science pathway now has a unique connection with the American Heart Association and is listed as a contributing author on an important AHA report on CPR published in March.

Brianna Colquitt, now a nursing student at Jacksonville State University, was only a CHS senior when she first reached out to AHA, following what she called a “traumatic experience.”

Colquitt had attempted to save a neighbor she discovered unconscious with CPR until paramedics arrived. The neighbor didn’t make it and she started second-guessing whether she did everything she could. That’s when she called the American Heart Association and suddenly became part of a research communications team.

“I got in contact with the American Heart Association after the incident my senior year because of what happened to me,” she said. “There just happened to be a group about to begin writing the article I helped with. I was able to be in a writing group of doctors all over the U.S. who helped formulate the statement, and I was able to give my input as a lay responder while we were writing. By being a part of this writing team, I was able to see how medical research happens and was very blessed that I had this amazing opportunity.”

The result is a published statement, inspired by Colquitt’s experience and of others like her, that focuses on the important work of lay people who attempt to save lives with CPR. In the past, non-medical personnel who performed CPR were primarily labeled as “bystanders,” a term many consider carries a negative connotation that implies in a literal sense as some who was just “standing by.” The medical team wanted to strengthen this language and communicate more appropriately what to call them – and landed on “lay responders.”

In addition to the statement, which lists Colquitt as the second author of record, a press release about the statement features Brianna and shares the challenges of lay responders and their importance.

Colquitt says her CPR experience as a high school senior further confirmed her desire to become a nurse.

“I knew from an early age I wanted to help others by becoming a nurse, and through the experience with my neighbor, I was able to confirm my calling to nursing and working in the healthcare field,” she said, and also expressed gratitude for her education in the CHS Healthcare Science pathway.

“I started my pathway with (former teacher) Cathy Sheriff who was able to teach me the basics of healthcare where we learned basic medical terminology. Then Shannon Bright took over and taught me so much – from how to help athletes after an injury to (understanding) the pathway of the heart and everything in between. Both of these amazing women helped my love and passion for healthcare grow.”

Colquitt said in nursing school she is often reminded of what they taught her. “I even got to shadow at Tanner Medical Center  as part of my pathway during my last semester of high school, which made it a more comfortable transition into my nursing school and clinicals. Also, because of dual enrollment at the University of West Georgia, I am able to graduate with my bachelor’s in Nursing early!”

Colquitt says after graduation, she wants to become a pediatric or geriatric nurse but she has other interests as well, including furthering her education with the ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.