A nurse in the emergency department is notified that several critically injured clients will be coming in following the collapse of a high-rise apartment building. Which action by the nurse is the priority ?

  1. notify the charge nurse to call in extra staff
  2. activate the facility’s emergency response plan
  3. check the crash cart supplies and restock extra items
  4. determine which current clients can be sent back to the waiting area
Number 2 is correct.
Rationale: Activating the emergency response plan is the first priority and the most critical. Once the plan is activated, the appropriate person will call in extra staff. Restocking items that will most likely be needed would be addressed by the response plan and delivered from central supply by support staff. The charge nurse or other designated personnel would then move noncritical clients to a safe area and open up beds for incoming clients. Each facility’s response plan may vary slightly, but it will address all protocols needed to ensure quick, efficient distribution of personnel and resources. Mock disasters and drills help facilities stay current and update the emergency response plan as needed.