Nurses receive critical incident defusing training

(Northwest Herald) To ensure they have the tools and skills to respond to events that distress staff, charge nurses at Centegra Health System received critical incident defusing training in August. According to a press release, this training will help nurse supervisors provide real-time support and guidance to nurses who have seen trauma or who have been assaulted by patients.

Despina McBride, clinical supervisor for the McHenry County Crisis Program, said the training is especially important for charge nurses in Centegra’s emergency departments and behavioral health units. McBride teaches the training with Megan Peace, a crisis worker with the McHenry County Crisis Program, which is administered by Centegra Health System and funded by the McHenry County Mental Health Board.

“Sixty percent of workplace assaults occur in health care settings, and most of those are committed by patients,” McBride said in the press release. “Emergency department nurses are more than 40 times more likely to report that they had been assaulted compared to nurses in other units, and health-care employees are often negatively impacted after these events occur.”

A group of nurses received this training in December, and leaders at Centegra Health System wanted to provide this educational opportunity again to staff because evidence has shown that training in critical incident stress defusing encourages the health and growth of associates. The training should help leaders prevent what is known in health care as the “second victim.”

“We developed this training because health-care workers can be the second victims when they witness trauma or are assaulted by patients who are mentally ill or under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Sheila Senn, vice president and site administrator at Centegra Hospital-Woodstock and Centegra Specialty Hospital-Woodstock. “Crisis workers are available at all times to every Centegra associate, however this training offers nurse leaders in high-risk areas the opportunity to better support their team members during and after stressful incidents.”

The trainings do not replace actual defusing and debriefing certifications, which are obtained by crisis workers at the McHenry County Crisis Program. The certified professionals may be called upon to assist Centegra associates at any time they need support. Still, McBride said that associates who attend the training show their desire to support their colleagues after difficult or frightening incidents.