Archive September 2017 XVIII, No. 9

Ideas That Work: How to Respond in an Emergency

Donna Barthes, RN, PAT EASY TASK Pre-op nurse Donna Barthes, RN, PAT, reviews the color-coded task cards.

How to Respond in an Emergency

We call them task cards, and I call them "a surveyor and situation life saver." We keep 6 of these laminated, color-coded task cards on a key ring in each department — business office, pre-op, OR, post-op and maintenance, for example — and each card gives staff a clear understanding of their responsibilities in response to an emergency situation: fire (red), bomb (black), disaster (green), active shooter (gray/silver), severe weather (brown) and violence/security threat (white). In addition to their role in securing the safety of patients and staff, the task cards have helped to eliminate the "I don't know" answer to surveyors. If a surveyor comes in and addresses the staff with a question about how they would handle a particular situation, the staffer can refer to the task card and provide specific steps for exactly how they would respond.

Barbara J. Holder, RN, BSN, LHRM, CAPA
Andrews Institute
Ambulatory Surgery Center
Gulf Breeze, Fla.

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