Nursing Prof Honored for Assisting Stroke Victim

Friday 16, 2018

Nursing Professor Nancy Maas was honored by the NMU Board of Trustees today for her quick response in lending qualified help to 34-year-old alumna Anna Dravland, who had collapsed on a Marquette street after suffering a debilitating stroke.

Maas, also an NMU alumna, said she was driving and noticed that a woman crossing the road in front of her was stumbling a bit. After she passed by, she glanced in her rearview mirror and saw that the woman had fallen down and was unlikely to get up, so she turned around. Dravland couldn’t speak or understand what Maas was asking her as she approached, so Maas immediately called EMS.

“I got her to sit down with me and put my arm around her,” Maas said. “I answered questions from dispatch and directed a passing car around where we were sitting. Anna was able to speak shortly after I called EMS, but I then noted she had facial droop.”

Maas said healthcare providers are trained to think FAST: look for Facial asymmetry, Arm weakness and Speech difficulties, then recognize that the Time required to get to the ER is critical for victims of a possible stroke.

“Other than that, I mostly tried to calm Anna, who was fearful,” Maas added. “I told her I was a nurse and was going to stay with her and the ambulance was on the way. There are no words to explain the meaning of being able to help someone. Sometimes you don't even realize how much you are helping them with simple actions that anyone trained in healthcare, or even a local community member, would do in a similar situation. What I did is part of who I am as a nurse and exemplifies my ethical standards in caring for others. My message is, never let the opportunity to help others pass you by.”

Dravland holds degrees in hospitality management (2014) and food service management (2013) from NMU. She was on her way to work at Travel Marquette when the incident happened. According to a Word on the Street profile by Brian Cabell, Dravland spent 19 days in the hospital between ICU, critical care and rehab. She has lingering complications from the stroke and faces an extended course of therapy, with possible surgery, ahead. Friends have set up a account to assist with her living expenses while she’s off work.

Despite the trauma she experienced and the intensive recovery, Dravland is committed to moving forward with the “Spread Goodness Day” movement she spearheaded. The event encourages individuals, businesses and organizations to perform one act of goodness—large or small—on Friday, March 9.

Maas was ahead of schedule, performing a significant act of goodness on Nov. 16. That was the fateful day she observed a stranger struggling in the street and put her nursing expertise to most productive use.

The board also recognized the Wildcat women’s golf team, whose members helped render aid to a community member after a campus Zumba class. Avery Rochester took the lead in administering CPR and a nearby AED device was used until paramedics arrived (see previous story here).

Kristi Evans
News Director