CISM - A non-profit helicopter emergency medical service for south Texas.

Angelica "Jellie" Requenez, RN, CCRN, CEN, CCEMT-P, LPDirector of Education

Angelica “Jellie” Requenez, RN, CCRN, CEN, CCEMT-P, LP
Director of Education

Annually, HALO-Flight responds to a variation of medical and traumatic emergencies; many of which make local headline news and occasionally, national news. Stress is a common response to our work environment and is shared by other emergency personnel and healthcare professionals. How we manage our stress is dependent upon a multitude of factors involved. Each event is unique and each person’s response to stress varies, as well. The stress becomes problematic when the affected individual is unable to manage their stress by means of their usual coping mechanisms. In such instances, the unmanageable stress can affect the individual’s work performance, home environment, social relationships and health; essentially, every aspect of the person’s life.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is an intervention protocol developed specifically for dealing with traumatic events. It is a formal, highly structured and professionally recognized process for helping those involved in a critical incident share their experiences, vent emotions, and learn about common stress reactions and symptoms. If required, persons are given a referral to a mental health expert for further assistance. While it is not psychotherapy; it is sometimes referred to as ‘psychological first aid’. The process is voluntary and confidential.

CISM was first developed for use with military combat veterans. It has now been adapted and used in numerous areas where there is a need to address traumatic impact in people’s lives, such as police, fire, ambulance, emergency workers and disaster rescuers. Such critical incidents in which people benefited from intervention include the following events: Columbine High School Shooting (4/19/1999), World Trade Center (9/11/2001), Hurricane Katrina (08/25/2005), Newtown School Shooting (12/14/2012). These heinous events not only affected the victims and their families but also emergency personnel and other rescue workers that had to deal with the acute nature of the emergency.

The purpose for hosting these courses is to be able to provide CISM to people affected by critical incidents. We are in the process of collaborating with the CBRAC and other agencies in order to establish a Multi-Disciplinary Regional CISM Team for South Texas.

Future course offerings for CISM Interventionist training and subspecialty training are currently in the planning phase. For more information about HALO-Flight’s Educational Offerings, please contact Angelica Requenez at angelicar@haloflight.org or call 361.265.0509.

www.haloflight.org

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On April 3-4, 2013 we hosted an Advanced CISM Interventionist Course. 31 participants attended that course. The participants were comprised of local Registered Nurses, EMS personnel, Fire Fighters, Chaplains, Pastors, Social Workers and Licensed Mental Health Professionals. Among the participants for the Advanced CISM course, was a Psychotherapist who traveled from Rome, Italy to attend this course with plans to initiate the same training in Rome.

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