Response to all the Excitement

If you haven’t read the news today, maybe you should wander on over to CNN or Google “Johns Hopkins Hospital shooter” and you’ll find that we had quite an interesting day.

For my clinical group and me, it started out as a normal day. Most of us got up around 5 or 5:30am, ate breakfast, headed out in our respective cars or took the shuttle to the hospital. I personally grabbed coffee in the cafeteria before heading up to Meyer 5 before report started.

We were assigned our patients, met with them to discuss their plan for the day, and generally got started for a busy day filled with group therapies, interviews, and process recording write-ups.

And then around 11:20 my instructor got a call from his wife … “Ohhhhkay.  I’ll call you back.”  He shot up from the table we were working at, looked back at us and said “You guys stay here.  There is a shooter in the building.”

What?

WHAT?!?!?

I sat in my chair and felt like my heart had dropped to my feet.  All eight of us students looked around at one another, “What?” Our instructor told us to stay in the conference room, to stay away from the windows.  The nurses, CNAs, and docs escorted all the patients to their room and drew all the shades. We all got out our phones, texting and calling our families, telling them we were ok.

Over the next three hours we watched the news, and waited for updates from the hospital.  The patients were so wonderful, and despite the fact they were sent to their rooms and were really hungry, they stayed in their rooms, and were very compliant.  Nurses and docs on the floor did what they could over the next three hours we were in lockdown – continuing assessments, giving meds, and providing therapy.

Our instructor was in contact with the SON and the other instructors in the building the whole time.  Eventually we were cleared to head down together to go back to the SON, which had also been on lockdown.  We were ushered into the auditorium, where Dean Angell addressed us kindly, gratefully, and respectfully.

WHAT. A. DAY.

I am so incredibly grateful to the hospital and to the School of Nursing for doing an amazing job of ensuring our safety and well-being.  As scary as the whole situation was, I never felt like I was in unsafe hands. We were always informed as to what to do, and as horrible as the situation was, we all got through it.

As crazy as this may seem to say, these are risks we take in everyday life. The nurses we worked with today, many of whom have worked at Hopkins for over 20 years, said they have never had this happen before. What I am taking away from this crazy day is to not let a scary situation stop me from doing what I want. Nursing and Medicine are about helping, healing, and giving hope, and as a future nurse I pledge never to let violence and anger win in my profession.

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