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, 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.