What does it take to keep a children’s hospital running during a storm like today’s?

What does it take to keep a children’s hospital running during a storm like today’s? A lot of preplanning and dedicated, caring staff!

We began preparations yesterday as the storm approached. We have a structured way we approach challenging situations. The model we follow is the same one FEMA uses to manage disasters.

Yesterday afternoon, our Warehouse and Distribution staff made extra deliveries of food and supplies to our inpatient operations. We made plans for the visiting siblings and family members who would be unable to safely leave the hospital during the storm. Staff members who were already on duty yesterday signed up to spend the night, knowing that travel would be slow for our colleagues who fought through the snow to come in today. We talked through all the necessities: food, shelter, transportation, and most important, the safety of our patients and our staff.

Our clinic staff called families yesterday to check on their intentions to travel today and offer opportunities to reschedule. Individual plans were made for children who were scheduled to receive chemotherapy or other critical services today. And, all of our leaders worked hard to ensure our employees knew what was happening and what they could safely do today to help out.

Today, our staff is doing whatever is needed to meet the needs – from delivering meals and washing dishes to helping families in our gift shop. Our night shift nurses willingly stayed an extra 5 hours so that all of our day staff could safely and slowly make it here. I’m proud – but not surprised – by how well we’ve all pulled together.

So, while it’s not quite a normal day here at Children’s, it’s also not an unusual day. Today we’re operating in a mode similar to how we operate on holiday weekends. There’s less staff on hand, but the essentials are well covered, and there are fewer families on site today because they are safely at home.

Nancy Korom, MSN, RN, NEA-BC- Nancy Korom, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, vice president and chief nursing officer, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is designated a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Comments

What does it take to keep a children’s hospital running during a storm like today’s? — 5 Comments

  1. And this is why we LOVE Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. They have the whatever it takes to keep the level of care as high as can be attitude!!

  2. Thanks for sharing this Lisa – I can’t imagine being there today of all days, but I am sure the staff is doing everything they can to keep it operational and safe for the families!

  3. I love how this hospital works. I also love the we knew well ahead of time that the NEW kids orientation was cancelled so I didnt have to worry about driving.

  4. My daughter (19mos) was inpatient during this last storm. Even though staffing was short everyone made such an awesome effort to make sure we were all comfortable and had what we needed. You never would have known anything was different had there not been 2 feet of snow out there! Thanks Childrens you once again have gone above and beyond our expectations!