Category: Professional Posters
Purpose: Emergencies, from mass casualties to occupational exposures to technology outages, can happen at any time. Hospitals are required to have plans for these events and conduct periodic drills. At many hospitals, these drills occur during weekdays, when staffing is optimal. However, hospitals should be prepared on all shifts. At this large, tertiary care hospital with a burn and trauma center, the Department of Pharmacy has worked to ensure an adequate response on all shifts. This requires not just adequate supplies, but also ensuring appropriate training of the staff in both response and in leadership roles in an emergency situation.
Methods: Working with other clinicians, the Department of Pharmacy has assembled necessary supplies that would be needed during an emergency event. Multiple sets of boxes have been prepared for deployment to the emergency room and other areas of the hospital. The hospital also maintains a large supply of antidotes. All supplies are kept in the Critical Care pharmacy, the only 24-hour pharmacy in the hospital. These supplies are checked monthly by either the pharmacy residents or Critical Care staff.
Staff undergo inservices on emergency preparedness during orientation and participate in refresher courses at least twice a year. These sessions include a tabletop drill, in order to help reinforce the information previously taught and to run through potential scenarios. During hospitalwide drills, the position of Pharmacy Unit Leader is rotated through critical care and senior pharmacists in order to prepare them for the role if ever needed. The pharmacists responding to the emergency room are also rotated as well. Binders have also been developed for all of the emergency-specific positions in an effort to provide necessary information for anyone filling the roles.
Results: As a result of this program, the pharmacy is ready to respond to any event that occurs. All staff has all received initial training, and a majority of the staff have participated in multiple refreshers. Routinely reviewing the material and incorporating scenarios into the training has allowed for the staff to feel more comfortable if an event should occur. Rotation of the positions used during a response has ensured that the pharmacy will be effectively led if the event occurs if the leadership is not available. The added benefit of having multiple people fill the various roles is that they are able to provide feedback that is used to constantly improve the level of readiness.
Conclusion: Ensuring that the Department of Pharmacy is ready for all emergency events is a difficult proposition. Preparing and assembling necessary supplies in a central location helps ensure that they are readily available during an event. Providing regular, case-based education also ensures that all staff are prepared for a response. Participation in drills by a variety of staff guarantees that there can be a leader in the event that department leadership is not available.