Training helps MVHC staff prepare for emergencies

August 8, 2014

By JOSIE OLIVER joliver@leseuernews-herald.com

In the case of an active shooter entering a work place, having staff trained to run an emergency procedure could be the difference, quite literally, between life and death.

In an effort to help ensure a safe environment, the Minnesota Valley Health Center are better educating themselves in the event of an emergency.

Staff were invited to attend an active shooter training presentation Wednesday afternoon to further educate themselves on emergency preparedness. Regional Security Manager for the Mayo Clinic Health System Steve Daniel was the presenter.

"MVHC is constantly working to better our facility and our staff. Additionally, we are continuously focused on safety efforts to provide the best experience for patients, residents and staff every day," MVHC communications coordinator Corrie Eggimann said.

Approximately 20 staff members from various hospital departments attended the interactive presentation, where they were able to express their main safety concerns and get advice on what to do in an emergency situation.

For director of nursing, Ambria Hutton, her biggest safety concerns comes from disgruntled patients or family members of patients, she said.

"I have seen patients get violent in the waiting room when we tell them we can't give them the prescription they want or when we have to tell a family member there is nothing more we can do for a loved one," Hutton said.

Daniel advised the staff in a situation like this to contact the on call administrator and to contact the local police department to help assess the risk the individual presents. Most times in situations like this the patient or family member is emotional and isn't likely to follow through on threats, Daniel said.

Laura Barron who works the registration desk spoke on concerns she could face if someone entered the hospital with the intent to commit a crime. Her concerns dealt with how she would protect herself and how she would inform the staff and patients that someone dangerous has entered the facility.

Daniel said it is important to have prevention efforts and security procedures implemented in any facility. Having a good security check at the front desk can prevent unwanted intruders from entering the hospital, something he says he already sees at MVHC.

"When I entered Laura saw me, she acknowledged me, she asked me how she could help me and made sure I was there to do what I said I was doing. She does that great," Daniel said.

Other staff members said they were concerned about balancing protecting patients and residents and when to begin protecting oneself.

"As a caregiver you have the responsibility to protect your patients, but also a responsibility to yourself to come back to the hospital tomorrow to continue to provide care for the rest of your career," Daniel said. "You make a decision in a moment and whatever you decide is the right one."

It is important to pay attention to behaviors. If something seems out of the ordinary, use caution, try to avoid being in the room alone with the individual and communicate with your coworkers.

"Usually your gut feeling is the best security tool," Daniel said.

This training was scheduled as MVHC's effort to provide ongoing training and education to its staff to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all patients, residents and staff.

Reporter Josie Oliver can be reached at 931-8576. Follow her on Twitter @LNHjosie.

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