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Sunderland apprentice nurse saves woman's life with CPR skills

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Published on 26 February 2024

Jen Baines with husband Scott and son Freddie Gowland. PHOTO: Sunderland Echo
Jen Baines with husband Scott and son Freddie Gowland. PHOTO: Sunderland Echo

An apprentice nurse studying at the University of Sunderland put her training into action when she saved the life of a woman who had collapsed at a children's football tournament.

Jen Baines and husband Scott were at the Ford sports hub on Monday to support Jen's son Freddie Gowland and his North East Sports Devils teammates when word came of the emergency and she rushed to help.

"She was on the ground in the recovery position and I was on the floor next to her," said Jen, 36.

"She had stopped breathing so I had to start CPR and ask someone to go and fetch the defibrillator.

"They brought the defibrillator but just put it on the ground next to me. I couldn't use it because I was still doing compressions and no-one else knew what to do."

The woman was taken to hospital and has since been in touch with Jen to thank her for her quick-thinking.

Jen has worked in the health sector for 17 years and is currently in the final year of her apprenticeship with South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust and the University.

She is urging people to learn about how to perform the life-saving technique: "Everyone needs to learn CPR, not just medical professionals," she said.

"It was lucky I was there at all - I normally work on a Monday."

Jen was praised by her bosses at the hospital trust and University lecturers.

Jane Middleton is Matron for Recovery at Home, where Jennifer is based, as well as  ICAR and Discharge with South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

"I'm proud to hear that Jennifer went to this woman's aid when she needed it most.," she said.

"In that moment, she was able to put her training and knowledge to use and it goes to show, in healthcare we are never really off duty.

"I know it is a real task to keep calm and recall that information when such quick action is needed.

"CPR is a vital skill and this proves taking the time to learn it is so worthwhile.

"Well done to Jennifer and we wish this person a good recovery."

Emma Bailey, Senior Lecturer and Programme Lead of the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Sunderland, added: "We are extremely proud of Jen and thankful that she was there to help.

"Jen is a conscientious apprentice nurse who has excelled in her placements.

"She is now in her final year of studies, and we are certain that she will successfully complete her degree and move on to a fulfilling career as a Registered Nurse."

The North East Sports Devils have started a Go Fund Me fundraiser for equipment. To donate, click here.

*Original article was first published in the Sunderland Echo