USF grad treats Colorado theater shooting victims
August 23, 2012 1:16PM
Updated: September 25, 2012 10:43AM
JOLIET — It’s been a month since the shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, and it’s a month that University of St. Francis graduate Cassie Coleman will never forget.
Coleman was one of the nurses who treated victims from the theater at the Medical Center of Aurora on the night of the shooting and in the weeks afterward.
“Everything I learned at USF prepared me for this day, but I didn’t expect to have a day like this so soon,” said Coleman, a Morris native who graduated from USF in December 2011.
Coleman passed her licensing exam in February, moved to Colorado a month later and started as a neuro/trauma RN at the medical center on April 25.
The night of the shooting was Coleman’s first evening being “on-call” rather than working a scheduled shift. Originally, she got the call to stay home because it was a slow evening. Not even five minutes later, her charge nurse called her to come in because there was “an incident,” and was told to go straight to the emergency room.
“I normally don’t work in the ER, and I wasn’t sure what happened at first, but I was prepared to do anything,” Coleman said. “I was excited and ready for the challenge. When I arrived, it was chaos. The hospital team was calm and everyone knew what they were doing, but there were so many people hurt. The first thing that went through my head was, ‘How could I help?’”
Coleman took care of several patients that evening and then three patients for the next several weeks when she worked her scheduled shift at the hospital. She grew close to each one of them.
“I will never forget any of them, and I have a special connection to each one of them,” she said. “Their strength and faith was amazing.”