Nurses Lead Study on Disaster Response Plans, and Other Nursing News

Closeup of ICU nurses discussing disaster response plans

Two nurses lead a study on how disaster response plans may require critical care capacity to be effective. A pair of trauma nurses who work together at a hospital in Arizona recently learned that they are related. A podcast from the popular nursing Instagram account NurseLifeRN features stories from nurses around the globe. Read on for more nursing news and insights.

Nurses lead study on disaster response plans

Two nurses have co-authored a study on how disaster planning may require critical care capacity to be effective. “Mass Casualties and Disaster Implications for the Critical Care Team” details various considerations to integrate critical care-specific needs into disaster response planning, including the ability to expand capacity for ICU beds, the number of trained personnel, supplies, and equipment.

Co-authors John Gallagher, DNP, RN, CCNS, CCRN-K, TCRN, RRT, FCCM, and Jennifer Adamski, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, CCRN, FCCM, have responded to multiple mass casualty incidents during their nursing careers and have helped numerous organizations develop disaster response plans. A professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Gallagher has nearly 30 years of experience in trauma nursing. Adamski is an assistant professor and director of the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program at Emory University in Atlanta and is a critical care nurse practitioner on the critical care flight team for the Cleveland Clinic. Both nurses also serve on the national board of directors for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN).

“Hospitals need to have an ICU-specific disaster plan as part of their larger facility plan, due to the unique requirements for expansion of ICU space, staffing, supplies and equipment,” said Gallagher in a prepared statement. “It’s crucial that ICU providers anticipate challenges before an actual disaster.”

When disaster surge conditions increase pressure on healthcare operations, facilities move from conventional to contingency or crisis-level standards to meet the needs of their patients. Pre-disaster planning includes taking inventory of available space to expand ICU space, with the possibility that other areas within the hospital may need to become ICUs. When internal space is at capacity, external or remote ICU expansion and field hospitals may be needed, the study finds.

“Disaster planning can take a general all-hazard approach or one that focuses on a specific hazard that the facility may be at higher risk for, due to its location and other factors,” Adamski said. “Thinking through the ramifications of an incident, preparing for worst-case scenarios and practicing the response can literally save lives when a disaster happens.”

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Staffing considerations include the use of creative, tiered staffing models and education for clinicians and support staff to quickly multiply the number of capable personnel under surge conditions.

In addition to space and personnel, facilities must identify supply and equipment needs and vulnerabilities. These include personal protective, redundant oxygen, ventilators, point-of-care ultrasound and emergency blood components. Some common critical care medications may be in short supply due to increased demand, while others, such as chemical weapon and nerve agent antidotes, may be needed only during specific types of disasters.

Trauma nurses at Arizona Hospital “reunited”

Two nurses who work together at a hospital in Arizona recently learned that they are related. Sandi Sandrick and Allen Tucker, a pair of trauma nurses at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center, are half-siblings.

The two have known one anther for years, and when Sandi recently found her father on Facebook, she realized that Allen was a “mutual friend.” They soon put their family tree together. The two were recently interviewed by ABC. They learned about their relationship just before Christmas 2020. Sandrick has still yet to meet her biological dad, according to the story.

Podcast spotlight: NurseSpeak

This is a podcast from the popular nursing Instagram account NurseLifeRN. Hosted by Nurse Ebi, an “all-star influencer” diagnosed with leukemia in 2020, the NurseSpeak podcast discusses the ups and downs of working on the floor and features stories from nurses around the globe. The most recent episode discusses superstitions that nurses have shared, including ghost stories sent in by nurses. Nurses can submit stories for the podcast by visiting

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