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The Voice of Nursing

The Voice of Nursing

I had the privilege to attend the California Hospital Association’s Annual Disaster Planning Conference in Sacramento, California this month. The program theme this year was “Driving Readiness in Dynamic Times.” That theme seems to really call out the wild ride we have been on in healthcare with the deadly terrorist shooting in San Bernardino last December, the terrorist shooting in the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, police assassinations in Dallas, and just this month the bombings tied to terrorism in New Jersey and New York City. Our national security posture and response changed on 9/11, and the way we have looked at disaster preparedness going forward. We have continued to be confronted by terrorism in the United States, as other countries around the world experience the same. Nurses, along with our interprofessional colleagues, have been called upon to support these horrific events when many injuries are sustained from an act of terrorism. Healthcare teams have had to learn to adapt quickly to the mass casualties arriving in private vehicles, police cars, and not always in an ambulance with lifesaving care initiated prior to arrival.

From these lessons, healthcare teams have not only been confronted with the mass casualties as a result of these events, but also the additional situations that occur in parallel, such as bomb threats; not enough supplies in the treatment areas to handle all the casualties, tourniquets not available to control hemorrhage, loss of internal communications, police radios not working in hospitals, and other learnings.

Healthcare providers are resilient, and we learn from these events each and every time. The purpose of attending these conferences and trainings is to help us be better prepared for a catastrophic event should it be in our community. Our emergency management team takes these events very seriously, and we work with local, regional, state and federal agencies to be perpetually ready.

Jeffery L. Hudson, DNP©, MSN, R.N. Vice President for Patient Care Services & Chief Nurse Executive