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A new specialty: Marching Band Nurse?

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We asked our Facebook Fans to share their stories on how they became nurses. This one killed us…the idea of teens keeling over left and right from heatstroke was so sadly comical that we had to feature it here on Scrubs Magazine.

So, without further ado, Critical Care Nurse Alan Thomas’s story:

When I was 13, I was in the Boy Scouts in Enid, Oklahoma. My counselor was a fireman when I earned my First Aid Merit Badge. The fireman had a first aid station at the Million Dollar Parade on the first of May and he asked me to assist. There were 25 to 30 marching bands and we were stationed at the end of the parade.

The weather was warm and humid. Every band had marchers who passed out due to the heat and the wool clothes they wore. They were in heat prostration and many were in heat stroke. We had so many marchers on the lawn at the end of the parade that we had to ask for more help. We sent a number of marchers to the hospital.

I fell in love with helping people and wanted to become a nurse. I worked the next five parades each May where the same thing happened at every parade. When the fireman turned the first aid station over to me, I was still in high school. Then, when we started having drum and bugle corps marching contests at our high school stadium, I was asked to bring the first aid station. The contests were held in August at night. The weather was extreme: temperatures in the 90s, with 50 to 60 percent humidity. And wool marching clothes again!

Five to ten people from each group went down at the exit of their march. A number of marchers went to the hospital with heat stroke. As a matter of fact, all we had was heat stroke! Several marchers went down on the field in the later corps. I had to ask for assistance from the crowd to use stretchers to get the marchers from the field.

I held the station for five more years, then handed it over to another person to run. I went back to college at age 30. I worked full-time and earned my RN degree—and I’ve been working as a critical care RN for the last 24 years.

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One Response to A new specialty: Marching Band Nurse?

  1. Rob Cameron

    I was actually in marching band in high school and college, and was in a World Class competitive drum and bugle corps in my late teens/early twenties. In drum corps we traveled all over the country, all summer, rehearsing 10 to 14 hours a day in the heat and humidity. Kids were always getting sick and going down do to the heat, the sun and dehydration. Now that I am nurse I have spend many weekends volunteering with the same drum and bugle corps providing the medical assistance that was not there when I was member.