Panel Discussion Successful in Sharing Ideas
August 20, 2008
Cindy Graves, RN, BS, CEN, Director of Emergency Services, KishHealth System and Dr. Michael Kulisz, Medical Director of Emergency Services, KishHealth System, were recently invited to speak at “On Our Watch VI: At Home and at War: Real-World Lessons in Disaster Management.” Described as “a conference for all emergency care professionals,” it is an annual event attended by about 200 EMS, fire departments, emergency nurses and doctors.
The all-day event took place on June 16 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago and was sponsored by the Illinois College of Emergency Physicians. The segment entitled, “Northern Illinois University and DeKalb: A Campus and Community Respond to Tragedy,” focused on the tragic events of Feb. 14. The 90-minute panel discussion was led by Graves and moderated by Dr. George Beranek, Region 1 POD Hospital Medical Director, Director of Medical Education, Rockford Health System with: Bruce Harrison, Assistant DeKalb Fire Chief; and Melanie Magara, Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs, NIU. Graves presented an comprehensive overview of the events of Feb. 14 and how they were handled by the campus, police departments, community, and hospital.
The audience members were from diverse backgrounds, many from inner-city hospitals, so through discussion Graves highlighted similarities so that others could learn from the experience. Graves said, “We didn’t go to say ‘this how you should do it.’ We wanted to share information about how we handled it, what worked well, in hopes that [other hospitals] could spark ideas for their own [disaster preparedness] plans.”
One of the main ideas shared with the audience was the importance of open communication and the fact that the health system had built relationships ahead of time. Since 9/11, a network had been established with police, fire, health departments including other community departments and agencies, and NIU. Graves explained, “We had laid groundwork before it happened—I knew who to call.” She added, “Many participants talked with me after the presentation to say that sharing this experience gave them many pearls and ideas for their own plans.”Share |