Day in the (Hospital) Life: Hullabaloo Flu drill 'vaccinates' 400 employees against imaginary outbreak

By Kristy Bleizeffer Nov 17, 2015

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Employee Health nurse Koni Sickel pretends to vaccinate lab associate Dalton Pindell during the Hullabaloo Flu drill Oct. 28 at Wyoming Medical Center.

Preparation is key to the mission of Wyoming Medical Center, therefore we drill for all kinds of emergencies in every department. A quick, professional response protects our patients and our staff.

In a drill on Oct. 28, we practiced emergency large-scale vaccination in response to a large, county-wide outbreak of Hullabaloo Flu.

"There are many reasons WMC needs to drill on these kinds of scenarios, as well as many other scenarios.  Hospitals must be prepared to respond to public health emergencies that create a sudden demand on services," said Andrew Bertapelle, associate VP of nursing and incident commander for the Hullabaloo Flu drill.

"Drills such as this allow WMC to test our capabilities to respond to these scenarios in real time.  In many of these types of scenarios, WMC will be called upon to provide care to large numbers of ill, injured, exposed and concerned individuals.  Thus, planning and drilling for disaster response is of the utmost importance," he said.

As part of the drill, Casper Natrona County Public Health notified WMC of the Hullabaloo Flu outbreak. The state provided vaccine and WMC was required to quickly administer it to all staff.

Scroll through the photos for more information on our Hullabaloo response. It’s just one of the many training exercises we complete each year.

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Surgical staging nurse  Patricia Whyde checks in with pharmacy education coordinator Matt Stanton during the Hullabaloo Flu drill. We partnered with Natrona County Emergency Management and Casper Natrona County Public Health for the drill scenario, since WMC would be at the forefront of a real-life infectious disease outbreak in the county.

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Integration analyst Julie Rae Pratt and Information Services manager Elaine Walters begin the check-in process during the drill. Department managers dismissed their departments at staggered intervals to maintain order. WMC is required to perform drills for several different emergency scenarios as a component of our emergency management plan.

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At left: Employee Health nurse Sammie Stephens checks an employee’s processing form before administering the ‘vaccine.’ At right: Employee Health nurse Rachel Tuttle vaccinates Lindsey Brady of the concierge desk.

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Ambulance manager Eric Evenson monitors employees after their ‘vaccinations.’ In a real outbreak, with real vaccinations, employees would be monitored for 10 minutes to make sure they had no immediate reactions to the vaccine. This waiting period was incorporated into the drill.

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At left: Surgical nurse Lisa Bickels  makes her way through the processing line. At right: Nick Belveal, director of Health Information Management Services, confers with Ambulance manager Eric Evenson about drill process.

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Presley  Legerski, pharmacy student,  vaccinates nuclear med technician Timothy Culp. In the 2 ½ hour drill, we ‘vaccinated’ more than 400 employees and gave actual flu shots to any employee who hadn’t yet gotten theirs. ‘It is always wonderful to see how well WMC employees come together, stretch their own personal skills and comfort zones to accomplish the mission,’ said Andrew Bertapelle, associate VP of nursing and the drill’s incident commander.

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Employees make their way from drill headquarters, our Support Services Building, back to their departments after completing the drill. “Most aspects of the drill went very well. The POD was set up timely, volunteers identified and trained efficiently, and WMC staff were expedited through the process in a seamless fashion,” said Andrew Bertapelle, the drill’s incident commander. “As with all drills (and real scenarios), there are always opportunities for improvement. Our initial communication plan was a little light, and we should have opted to include the use of the disaster radios in case we had a bottleneck of 'patients' in the post-treatment observation area. Had this been an actual scenario, we likely would have seen an increased volume of patients.”

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