Jim: June 12th and the first week after were the worst days of my life. You never expect to walk into work having to go from room to room hoping to God that you do not know anyone in one of those beds. The reaction of the world (for the most part) was wonderful, and the survivors and their loved ones were the friendliest patients we have ever had in our trauma units! I am blessed that I had the opportunity to meet them and tell them that I am glad they are alive.
Louise: Our preparedness proved to be our best strength. In the face of such a tragedy, our teams could rely on processes they had practiced. Teamwork across department needs to be built into everyday processes, such as the TICU charge nurse responding to all trauma alerts in the ED. This allowed the TICU and ED teams to build relationships, just as the NICU team responded to help admit patients to the TICU. During the course of the event, it was important to have HICS in place, but equally important to have administration and senior leaders visible to the front-line team. Our leadership was rounding, ensuring the team had what they needed and offering encouragement and support. In the days and weeks that followed, team members were encouraged to take care of themselves and their coworkers. Counseling sessions were extremely helpful for everyone. The most feedback I heard from the TICU team was how other departments helped them. CVICU, NICU, blood bank, the housekeepers, guest services and our amazing chaplains were just a few they were thankful for.