As mass shootings continue to rise in the U.S., post-traumatic stress disorder is affecting nurses, firefighters other first responders who are called on to handle the carnage.
Las Vegas hospital nursing supervisor Antionette Mullan recalls gurneys carrying dead bodies across the triage floor the day a gunman fired into a crowd of more than 20,000 people at a country music festival in the city. In the aftermath of “the most horrible evening of my life,” as she described it to healthleadersmedia.com, nurse Mullan says she now has emotional breakdowns that come without warning.
There were 346 mass shootings (defined as an incident where more than four persons are killed or injured by gunfire) in the United States in 2017. There have been 159 in 2018, up to July 3rd. The large numbers of first responders who must work in scenes of horror to rescue or treat gun victims are now showing elevated signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report by the International Association of Fire Fighters.
For Nurses, Trauma Remains
Recovering from such traumatic events can be hard because they are discussed at such length in the media. And to make matters worse, nurses, police and others on the front lines are often slow to seek help, because they work in a culture where they are expected to be stoic.
For nurse Mullan, the stress and emotional trauma of the Las Vegas shooting lives on. Attending an event recently where victims who survived got up and spoke, she said “it hit me like a ton of bricks.” Read more about nurses and PTS here.