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Supporting Staff Recovery and Reintegration After a Critical Incident Resulting in Infant Death

Roesler, Roberta MSN, RNC1; Ward, Debra MSN, RN1; Short, Mary MSN, RN2

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e3181afab5b
Professional Growth and Development: 2.3 hours Continuing Education

A critical incident is described as any sudden unexpected event that has the power to overwhelm the usual effective coping skills of an individual or a group and can cause significant psychological distress in usually healthy persons. A Just Culture model to deal with critical incidents is an approach that seeks to identify and balance system events and personal accountability. This article reports a critical incident that occurred at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Methodist Hospital of Indianapolis, when 5 infants received an overdose of heparin that resulted in the death of 3 infants. Although care of the family after the critical incident was the immediate priority, the focus of this article was on the recovery and reintegration of the NICU staff after a critical incident based on the Just Culture philosophy.

1Riley Hospital for Children at Methodist Hospital Indianapolis and 2Methodist Hospital Indianapolis, Indiana.

Address correspondence to Roberta Roesler, MSN, RNC, Riley Hospital for Children at Methodist Hospital, 1701 North Senate Blvd, Room A3070, Indianapolis, IN 46202;

The authors have disclosed that they have no financial ties to any company that may have an interest in this education activity.

© 2009 National Association of Neonatal Nurses