Nursing

Dallas police shootings seen through a CNO’s eyes

Nurse Leader Insider, September 8, 2016

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Written by Jennifer Thew, RN

After high-profile tragedies, the following quote from Mr. Rogers often makes the rounds on social media: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

Yes, the acts of selflessness, compassion, and dedication by these "helpers" comfort others in times of trouble but, I always wonder, who helps the helpers after a tragic event? What can be done to comfort them and help them cope?

Parkland Health & Hospital System's CNO Karen Watts, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, has the answers to some of these questions.

Facilitate Healing

In July, after being shot by a sniper at a Dallas Black Lives Matters protest, seven police officers were taken to Parkland for treatment. Unfortunately, three of those officers died.  [Others, including civilians, were taken to other hospitals.]

"That was a struggle for the staff, and for the physicians, who were there and who did their best to try to save everybody that they could," Watts told me when we spoke in late August. "What we want to do is save lives. It's very hard when you can't."

Though the immediacy of the situation is over, the effects of the tragedy are not. 

"I think they're [the staff] doing better than they were early on, but I think there are still moments in time when it comes back to them or something triggers it," she told me.

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