Nurse describes lingering effects of mass shooting response

Research on the effects of responding to mass casualty events on health professionals is limited, but interviews conducted by a MedPage Today reporter suggest they can linger for years. Megan Duke, RN, of Loma Linda University Medical Center treated victims of the 2015 San Bernardino shooting. For her, “The heaviness of what happened and the awfulness of what we saw and experienced was still very real to us," in the weeks and months following the event. To help staff cope with their feelings, the hospital held debriefings where employees could grieve, and they invited first responders to join them. As a team leader, Duke also gave staff nurses time to readjust, spoke with them one-on-one as needed, and directed their assignments away from patients with gunshot wounds or other potentially retraumatizing conditions. "[M]aking better protocols and working on our disaster equipment and supplies, that's also healing,” she told the reporter. (MedPage Today story, 11/12/19)