Critical Incident Stress Management : A Contribution to a Healthy Workplace

Last modified by Doug Maynard on 2018/03/01 18:00


It is recognized that first responders such as Fire and Emergency Medical Services Personnel can suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. More recently, it is becoming increasingly known that staff and physicians who work in acute care settings can also be prone to similar PTSD symptoms, moral distress, compassion fatigue and burnout.

With the intention of building a more psychologically healthy workplace, a Critical Incidence Stress Management (CISM) team was developed at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary to support staff with managing the heavy load of complex, ethically challenging and potentially traumatic cases, such as such as non-accidental trauma, organ donation, unanticipated deaths, resuscitations, and end-of-life care.

CISM is a process that enables peers to help their peers understand problems that might occur after an event. It is a formal, highly structured and professionally recognized process for helping those involved in a critical incident to share their experiences and emotions in a peer support environment, learn about stress reactions and symptoms and be referred for more help, if required.  It is a confidential, voluntary and educative process, sometimes called ‘psychological first aid’ (American Psychological Association, 2010; Mitchell, J.T., 2006).

Following the introduction of a CISM team in 2013 in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), vacant positions in the ACH PICU dropped by 75% between May 2014 and November 2016.  Staff sick hours decreased by 46% between October 2015 and November 2016. While it is impossible to directly attribute these improvements to the CISM program alone, evidence suggests that some of this progress is attributed to the well-established CISM program in the unit.

A site wide program was developed in 2016, and the same year, the ACH was recognized by the Canadian Critical Incident Stress Foundation as the first Canadian acute care hospital to provide CISM support hospital wide.

Other resources

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Renee Kampman 2018.JPGRenee Kampman, BN, RN : Quality Improvement Data Coordinator for PICU and ACH CISM Team Coordinator at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta.

Renee Kampman received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the Calgary Conjoint Nursing Program at the University of Calgary in 1998. Her career has predominantly been in Critical Care in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH) in various nursing roles. She currently works in Quality Improvement as the PICU Data coordinator for Virtual Pediatric Systems (VPS) registry which provides statistical reporting and clinical services to over 135 hospitals. She is the coordinator for the first site wide CISM team in Canada; the ACH Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team.  She is a member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) and the Canadian Critical Incident Stress Foundation (CCISF); she is now a certified Instructor for Individual and Group Crisis Intervention.

Emma Folz 2018.JPGEmma Folz, MA, BScN, RN :Patient Care Manager for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Follow Up Clinic, and RSV Program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta

Emma Folz received her Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing from the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia in 1998. Her career has predominately been in Neonatal and Pediatric Critical Care Nursing and has worked at various pediatric health care facilities in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. Her current employment is with the Alberta Health Services, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary and has worked in various roles including Clinical Nurse Educator, Assistant Manager and most recently as a Patient Care Manager. Emma earned a Masters of Arts (Leadership) degree from Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia in 2011 and was awarded the 2016 College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) Award for excellence in administration, the highest honour recognised provincially for RN’s in Alberta. She attributes this success to her firm belief in the importance of a healthy workplace culture.

Created by Grace Scorrar on 2018/02/06 20:58