21 August, 2018

Working in the dark – The impact of a state-wide black systems event on emergency departments: A case study from clinician perspectives

Free full-text article is available here (PDF)

Background: A black system event (BSE) is a large scale black-out where there is a loss of a major power supply. From a health perspective a BSE may disrupt essential equipment within a health service that may be necessary for providing care. There is a paucity of literature relating to BSE and their impact on emergency departments (EDs).

Aim: The research aimed to understand the impact of a BSE on ED clinicians in South Australia.

Method: This research used a cross sectional survey design by surveying South Australian ED clinicians who worked during the BSE. Data was collected via a survey with closed and open questions. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics and qualitative narrative was analysed using a thematic analysis.

Results: Surveys were returned from 42 nurses and 7 doctors. The respondents were mostly female and most worked in a metropolitan ED. The majority of participants had undertaken some form of disaster education and/or training, despite never been involved in a major incident or disaster. A lack of lighting radiography systems not working, communication systems not working and patient tracking systems not working were the most common ways the ED was impacted.

Conclusion: This research is the first to focus exclusively on the impact of a BSEs on EDs in Australia. Emergency departments are encouraged to educate and train staff to be prepared for BSEs, test electrical systems and improve communication with the ED

Hammad K, Wake M, Zampatti C, Neumann S, Ranse J. (in-press, 2018). Working in the dark – the impact of a state-wide black systems event on emergency departments: A case study from clinician perspectives. Collegian.


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