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Simulation Prepares an Interprofessional Team to Evacuate a 60-Bed Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Zell, Lisa BSN; Blake, Carmen BSN; Brittingham, Dawn MSN; Brown, Ann-Marie MSN; Soghier, Lamia MD

The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: July/September 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 253–259
doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000430
Feature Articles: Continuing Education

In August 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Baltimore/Washington, District of Columbia, corridor. The event identified a critical requirement to prepare our interprofessional team to evacuate approximately 60 neonatal patients. A needs assessment indicated that 60% of staff members had little or no knowledge of the unit's evacuation plan and 55% of respondents were not aware of their specific role in an emergency evacuation. The neonatal intensive care unit educators in collaboration with the unit's medical team, the leadership team, the hospital emergency management team, and the unit practice and professional council coordinated the design, implementation, and assessment of the simulated evacuation activity. To encourage realism within the simulated activity, prepared manikins were placed in patient rooms and assigned varying levels of acuity. The training session began with a prebrief session that included a description of the evacuation plan, delineation of roles, responsibilities based on scope of practice, use of the evacuation equipment, and unit emergency bags. Participants engaged in a debrief session following each session during which the staff notably expressed an increased confidence with the evacuation plan, roles, and operation of the evacuation equipment. In addition, the debriefing allowed for identification of latent threats, which the planning group used to streamline the evacuation process.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia.

Corresponding Author: Lisa Zell, BSN, 111 Michigan Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010 (

The authors acknowledge Amanda Garrow, Blare Harner, Joan Paribello and Michelande Ridore for their support.

Disclosure: The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Each author has indicated that he or she has met the journal's requirements for Authorship.

Submitted for publication: December 6, 2018; accepted for publication: May 23, 2019.

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