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Active Shooters: What Emergency Nurses Need to Know

Palestis, Kimberly BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000113
Original Articles

ABSTRACT Active shooter incidents have been on the rise in the United States in the last 2 decades, specifically events occurring in public areas traditionally considered safe such as churches, schools, and hospitals. An examination of historical events shows that the emergency department (ED) nurse must be equipped to handle any situation that may arise, including the increasing likelihood of an active shooter situation. Hospital response to these occurrences is changing, and protocols for staff response are being adjusted on a regular basis. Immediate response, postevent actions, and evidence collection procedures must be a part of the ED nurses' ongoing education. Lessons learned from events that have occurred must be examined so ED nurses can be more aware and ready to respond to the increasing chance of an event such as this occurring in their ED.

Author Affiliation: Lead Clinical Operations Manager, Jersey City Medical Center; and Master of Science in Nursing Student, and student in the Forensic Trends in Healthcare Certificate Program, Drexel University.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Kimberly Palestis,BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, JerseyCity Medical Center, 344 Harding Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071. Tel: 201-397-4886; E-mail:

Received September 24, 2015; accepted for publication April 12, 2016.

© 2016 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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