Oak Point University instructor offers information and first aid tips during National Epilepsy Awareness Month

  • Oak Point University's Dr. Christopher Galloway, the SIM Man 3G manikin, an instructor and student

    Oak Point University's Dr. Christopher Galloway, the SIM Man 3G manikin, an instructor and student Courtesy of Oak Point University

Updated 11/30/2021 12:05 PM

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and education about the disorder and seizure first aid knowledge is needed. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system and is known as a seizure disorder. In fact, one in 10 people will have a seizure during their lifetime.

Epileptic seizures are most often identified as uncontrolled shaking, twitching, or jerking movements of someone who is unresponsive. However, not all seizures present themselves in this way. Additional warning signs of seizures include daydreaming episodes, falling, abrupt onset of confusion or brain fog, and unusual out-of-body experiences, tastes, smells, or feelings and more, according to Christopher Galloway, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, MOT.


Dr. Galloway is an Assistant Professor of Graduate Programs at Oak Point University.

Epilepsy is caused by a sudden abundance of electrical activity in the brain, and, interestingly, six out of 10 individuals diagnosed with the condition do not know the cause. For those that have a known cause, it is most often due to a brain structure abnormality or injury, genetics, immune system, or metabolic causes.

Dr. Galloway shares information about the disorder and offers tips on actions one can take when someone appears to be experiencing a seizure. First aid considerations for people who witness another individual experiencing what appears to be a seizure include:

• STAY: Stay calm and stay with the individual. Time the seizure from start to finish, and if the seizure lasts more than five minutes, call 911.

• SAFE: Keep the individual safe by moving sharp or otherwise potentially harmful items away from the individual and guiding that person away from harm. Keep crowds to a minimum and create a safe, comfortable environment.

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• SIDE: If the individual is not awake and alert, place the individual on his/her side, keep their airway clear, loosen any restrictive articles of clothing, especially around the neck, and place something small and soft under the individual's head.

• Never try to restrain the individual or place any objects in the mouth but place the individual on their side to avoid anything trapped in the mouth or airway from being caught in the airway.

When to call 911

Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes if the individual does not return to a "normal" state after the seizure, if seizures repeat, or if this is the individual's first seizure. If the person is having difficulty breathing, becomes injured, is already sick or pregnant, or if the seizure occurs in water, also contact emergency services for assistance.

Teaching tomorrow's healthcare professionals

At Oak Point University, Dr. Galloway instructs nursing students using unique "patients" in classes for subjects including managing epileptic seizures. Oak Point University, with locations in Chicago and Oak Brook, has the most advanced education Simulation Centers in the region, allowing students opportunities to practice their skills on simulation mannequins including the newest member of the Oak Point Sim family, SimMan 3G PLUS. This is an advanced mannequin who sweats, bleeds, has seizures, an active pulse, pupil dilation, and heart and lung sounds.


"Simulation allows students to incorporate theory into hands-on practice in an environment that allows for errors without risk to the patient," says Dr. Galloway. "Additional benefits include decreased medication errors, increased communication and teamwork, and improved critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills."

The Simulation Centers allow nursing students to apply basic and advanced skills in a variety of specialties including medical-surgical, ICU, pediatrics, OB, radiography, behavioral health, and home health. The Sim patients also include a Sim Mom mannequin that simulates a live birth and Sim Junior and Babies that allow for students to practice pediatric clinical components.

"Nursing is a rewarding profession that allows you to change the lives of those you care for and improve the health and wellness of your community. Given the current pandemic, we are continuing to navigate an ongoing shortage of nurses, and there are many positions to fill. I'm honored to train professionals who can pursue these careers and meet the ever-changing needs of health care," says Dr. Galloway.

About Oak Point University

Oak Point University is a private educational institution with two Illinois campus locations: Amita Health Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center Chicago (Saint Elizabeth Campus) 1431 N. Claremont in Chicago and 2122 York Road in Oak Brook. Offering the highest quality nursing and radiography education and the most cutting-edge SIM technologies available in the region, Oak Point is a top option for those seeking degrees and certifications in health care. Visit oakpoint.edu for more information.

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