Ironically, on June 12, I was called into the institute to deal with a building issue. I attempted to drive my usual route to OHIL, but immediately encountered difficulty and had to take an alternate route that avoided the scene at the Pulse nightclub. Over the next three hours as the repairs took place, I watched as the media, their trucks and entourage became increasingly evident. From my office, I could see swelling numbers of spectators parking nearby and attempting to walk to the Pulse scene.
It was now apparent that as a leader some decisions were needed to prepare for our normal Monday activities -- team members arriving to work, attending new hire orientation, teaching and leading the various courses scheduled at OHIL. Conference calls occurred, schedules were assessed, and the logistics and security related to protecting our team members who would be working or attending these activities were considered in whether to open the institute on Monday. A decision was made to proceed with business as usual.
On Monday, there was heightened anxiety related to the event occurring so close to us and the enormous presence of the media camped out only a block from our doors. We could view the activity from our windows, passersby couldn’t see into our building. Helicopters circled overhead, making constant noise and reminding us of what had occurred just three blocks away. New team members arrived and expressed both their gratitude for not cancelling the new hire orientation and their pride in being an Orlando Health team member.
The advanced critical care course for nurses was midway through its curriculum. The nurses were asked if they wanted to continue with the course due to the emotions, ongoing noise and disruption outside of the building. They unanimously agreed to continue without interruption. Some had worked in the ED, intensive care units and critical areas with their preceptors on Sunday to care for the Pulse shooting victims. They had recently completed their basic critical care course, which had included weekly simulation through experiential learning. There were newly graduated registered nurses who had just begun their nursing career.
During the next couple of days, I made rounds within OHIL, checking on the learning consultants and team members attending courses and providing assurance, comfort and support. Those in the learning and simulation world were thanked for their effort to provide the needed education and preparation that contributed to the patient care successes following the tragedy.