AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program
Touched by an AHEC: Stories from 100 Counties


Wilkes County | Northwest AHEC

Julie Barker, registered dental hygienist

Julie Barker is a registered dental hygienist at the Wilkes Public Dental Health Clinic in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Julie sent us this story as a testimonial to how continuing education helped her in a medical emergency.

“I recently attended an AHEC course on medical emergencies in October of 2008. I have been educated about medical emergencies all through school and at CE courses, but never one like this one with Linda. It was very informative and I learned so much. She gave many scenarios and walked you through each emergency.

“Throughout my whole dental career of 16 years I have never encountered a true medical emergency. I was very prepared to handle this situation. I had already gotten the baseline blood pressure when the patient arrived and reviewed the medical history and medications in detail. As the appointment went on, I began to notice slurred speech and the patient complained of a severe headache. Upon consulting with the dentist we proceeded to handle this emergency...took another blood pressure and pulse and called 911. We stayed with the patient and kept her stable. When EMS arrived, the first question they asked was about her blood pressure, and we were prepared with the baseline. The symptoms seemed like a stroke. The patient was hospitalized and has recovered.

“Thanks for such a good course. Treating this emergency made me feel prepared and confident.”