NY Nurses Stayed With Critical Care Patients During Hurricane Irene

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , September 13, 2011

Rowinski credits the hospital's disaster planning for the smoothness of the experience.

"In every hospital, you have tests and drills. We say sometimes they are stupid to do, but they really do prepare you for things like this," she says.

For example, the hospital's checklist included a provision to check whether patients were on dialysis. A few of the patients who were staying did need dialysis, so they provided the treatment on Friday in case they could not do it after the hurricane.

"It sparked ideas in our minds to get special therapies done early in case we couldn't do it afterwards," says Rowinski. "Teamwork makes all this work. Everyone talking to each other and listening to each other makes it work."

The blood bank made sure the ICU had the blood it needed and respiratory therapists stayed on the unit around the clock. In the end, the hospital evaded any major damage and everything was back to normal within a few days.

The experience has brought the unit closer together.

"I'm very fortunate to have them," Rowinski says of her dedicated nurses. "Everything ran very smoothly. There was a camaraderie we got from working through it together."

Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at rhendren@hcpro.com.
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