Courtney Bukantis, RN, got her start saving lives months before she started working in the Carle Emergency Department (ED).
Time with her parents and sister shifted from social to serious Easter weekend 2017 when their car came upon a motorcycle lying on the side of the road, its passenger lying in the road.
“I jumped into action, thanks to my nursing school training,” Bukantis said. “I grabbed an ACE bandage to start a tourniquet for the badly injured leg while my parents looked for other ways to help. My sister, who is 14, thankfully stayed in the car.”
The experience proved pivotal. Bukantis, who had wanted to work in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) while at Millikin University School of Nursing, shifted her attention to her ED interview scheduled at Carle that week. And she fell in love. She sometimes still can’t believe how much she likes working in the ED, a Level 1 Trauma Center that cares for people with serious injuries and illnesses constantly.
“It’s more than crazy. I just didn’t think I’d love it so much,” said Bukantis who calls the doctors, nurses, healthcare technicians and other she works with “all amazing.”
The Illinois State Police recently presented Bukantis with its Director’s Award of Distinction for her roadside heroics. Director Leo P. Schmitz outlined his gratitude.
“While Sergeant (Richard) Vanko was assessing the driver’s injuries, you arrived and offered your assistance. … Your swift actions and training saved this (person’s) life. Thank you for your willingness to help a severely injured citizen,” he said.
Bukantis now helps people in dire situations every day.
“Courtney is very quick on her feet. She is efficient and takes great care of patients. Courtney acts fast in critical situations and is able to maintain her composure under stress,” said Gabrielle Waddington, RN.
“Courtney is a great team player in the ED. Other employees enjoy working with her, and when she is their pod partner, she is always around to help if they need it. Courtney is an asset to our department and has grown a ton in the short amount of time she has been here.”
Allen Rinehart, ED executive director, agrees.
“Courtney is a very positive individual who works well with all her peers. She really cares about her patients and those she works with,” he said. “Courtney interacts with her pod partners and is very conscientious about making sure everyone is sharing in the work.”
One of the best parts of being a new nurse at Carle in the fall of 2017 was how quickly she felt part of the ED team.
“When I moved here, I didn’t know anyone,” she said. “They’ve all been welcoming and supportive.”
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“The ED is a booming place filled with both triumphs and tragedies,” said Lynne Barnes, Carle Foundation Hospital chief operating officer. “We’re always eager to have great nurses like Courtney join the team so we continue to do the very best for our patients.”