Unprecedented. The term has become an ironically common way to describe many current events. Richmond County School Nurses have used the term unprecedented to focus on emergency preparedness.
“As nurses, we are aware of what to do in most emergency situations, but there is only one nurse in most of our schools so it’s important not only for us to be as prepared as possible, but for us to prepare our first responder teams and other staff,” said Leslie Hall, Richmond County Schools lead nurse.
The nurses recently completed a Stop The Bleed refresher course led by Firsthealth of the Carolinas emergency services training officer and director. The number one cause of preventable death after an injury is bleeding, which is why Stop The Bleed trainings focus on packing wounds and applying tourniquets. The refresher allowed the nursing team to practice with tourniquet trainers and discuss triage situations with local EMS.
Each school has received a fully stocked mobile emergency medical cart. Schools had variations of first aid trauma supplies in the past but encountered issues with mobility of the supplies or keeping all schools stocked with the most important emergency response materials.
“We spent time reviewing recommendations on priority first aid supplies for emergencies and stocked a kit for each school with everything from trauma dressings and gauze to band aids and eye rinse,” said Hall. “These carts will give us the ability to respond to medical emergencies quickly which is so important in injuries where time makes a huge difference.”
“School nursing is so much more now in 2023 than it was even five years ago. Our school nurses have weathered COVID-19, which created a complex and stressful school health landscape. More recently, we are seeing increased cardiac related emergencies among our school-age population across the region, state and country. We want to be prepared to respond immediately and appropriately should we have an emergency of any nature in our school district.” Wendy Kelly Jordan, director of Student Services.
A Cardiac Emergency Response Plan is the current initiative being implemented through the health team. The statistics of a cardiac arrest occurring outside the hospital are staggering, but CPR and access to an automated external defibrillator can double or even triple an individual’s chance of survival. All Richmond County Schools buildings have at least one AED with more in the middle and high schools.
“We’ve identified a couple of goals including creating a team of people prepared to respond to a cardiac event, adding signage in our buildings to be sure everyone knows where to find an AED, and practicing AED drills much like we do fire drills,” said Nurse Hall.
Written by: Cameron Whitley, RCS nurse extender