Stress Help for Medical Workers

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The "Critical Incident Management Team" or "CISM" at South Georgia Medical Center has won international recognition for its work to create a team within the hospital to help employees deal with the sad and stressful situations they see on a regular basis.

Paramedics, nurses and doctors see some of the most horrific tragedies that happen in our region. Even though it’s part of their job, these medical providers say they are not invincible from the emotional toll these events can take.

Stacey Ireland, a nurse, says, "I'm not invincible; I certainly take it home. I have children, so when I see things that happen to children, that really affects me, and you take it home no matter what. We're humans, and we can either deal with it appropriately or we can go home and think about it over and over."

While the CISM team members are not trained councilors, they are taught how to simply listen and help a fellow co-worker deal with a traumatic event.

Members of the CISM team say their duty is not only to help the doctors, nurses and other personnel who work tragic events at the emergency room and other parts of the hospital, but they also want to help out when people have to deal with personal issues.

Robert Keen, a CISM team member, says, "We have family members and co-workers and friends and relatives and neighbors who have problems in their lives and that impacts us as well, so we operate on a professional level and on a personal level."

They’re helping make sure these caregivers are emotionally healthy enough to do the best job possible.

Medical caregivers say they've seen more interest in this "CISM" program since September 11, 2001. It’s designed for anyone in a stressful job, including police officers and firefighters.