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Nursing student takes what she learned in class, saves life the same day

Posted at 6:05 PM, Oct 05, 2022

PEORIA, AZ — Tiffany McFall, a nursing student at West-MEC in Surprise, is recalling the moment she realized a life was in her hands.

The rescue happened in August, while she was working as a deck attendant at Aqua-Tots Swim School in Peoria.

“It’s crazy to think that the skills I learned here, I saved my best friend and coworker that day,” said the 18-year-old Ironwood High School Student.

Tiffany says she noticed her friend suddenly in distress while she instructed a class.

“The signs that I saw were, she was twitching, I called her name like three or four times, she would not respond,” said Tiffany. “It was pretty scary.”

Turns out, she was experiencing a seizure while in the pool. With only seconds to act, Tiffany didn’t hesitate. Entering the pool and letting her training takeover.

“Her knees were up to her chest so I couldn’t pull her out,” said Tiffany.

Instead, she jumped in, got behind her and supported her weight under her arm pits. Focusing on keeping her head above water and putting her in proper positioning to ride out the episode. Safely controlling her body until the seizure was over.

“There was one thing I did say, I will never forget it, it was, I’m here for you, like I was not going to let her go under,” said Tiffany.

The perfect technique she carried out had literally been learned earlier that day at school.

“If I had not gone through the training, I probably would have frozen with anxiety,” said Tiffany.

“She came in the day after that happened and said oh my gosh, I have a story to tell,” said Tamara Greabell.

Greabell is Tiffany’s nursing instructor at West-MEC and says she was blown away with what she heard.

“It was amazing that an 18-year-old kid had the knowledge and skills and confidence to do that and maintain her composure, so I was really proud of her,” said Greabell.

Tiffany says her friend is now doing fine and it certainly brought them even closer.

“She gave me a hug, she was, it was emotional,” said Tiffany.

The experience not only solidifying that friendship but a future where saving lives is just another day at the office.