Fran Walther, RN

By Linda Friedel, KC Nursing News

Fran Walther was recently recognized by the Lenexa Police department for her quick response and life-saving measures. Walther said it was a team effort. Everybody did exactly what they were supposed to do, she said.

“I was so impressed with how well they worked,” said Walther, RN, clinical staff manager at College Park Family Care Center of Midwest Physicians with HCA Midwest Health System in Stanley, Kansas. “That was wonderful.”

Walther was singing when a member of the congregation tapped her on the shoulder. We need you, mouthed the messenger. Walther slipped out, then fled to keep up with the messenger’s gait. She led Walter to another part of the building where a senior member of her congregation was unconscious on the floor.

One member was compressing her chest, then stopped to let Walther to take over. On cue, an arm reached out

to pass Walther an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock the approximately 70-year-old unresponsive woman.

She performed compressions for two minutes, and after one shock, the paramedics moved in. They defibbed the woman again and again before lifting her onto a stretcher, then out the door. Walther’s adrenalin was rushing, but after years of training, she knew what to do.

“It makes me feel proud to be a nurse,” she said. “I am proud to be around people that have the presence of mind to make the right choices. I was just really proud of my church.”

It was the first life-threatening event at her church, but not the first time that Walther was called from the pew, she said. There have been baby rashes, sprained ankles, seizures, members who fainted and someone with anxiety that have prompted Walther to exit. Walther has become the go-to healthcare person at her church of 20 years, she said. It is why she went into nursing, however, she said. She sees herself in the role as a servant. Walther has always been one to follow the rules and do the right thing, she said.

“That’s part of my faith. My faith is who I am,” Walther said. “I just love people.”

Several of her co-workers surprised her by attending the awards ceremony at the Lenexa Police department this spring where Walther was honored. Sally Firnhaber, RN, BSN, director of nursing at College Park Family Care Center, said Walther’s action as a good Samaritan reflects who she is on and off the clock.

“Fran is one that responds to what is needed without a hesitation,” Firnhaber said. “I think of compassion and mercy when I think of Fran.”