Research Medical Center September 16, 2013

by Linda Friedel | Reprinted courtesy of KC Nursing News

A young man walks into a barbershop and sits down for a trim. He complains of chest pain, then tells the barber his arm feels numb. The customer slumps, then waits as the barber takes action.

“I didn’t think we were going through the entire process,” said Asbury Broadnax IV, who portrayed an ailing customer. “I didn’t know about the ambulance. It was kind of interesting.”

Within minutes of Broadnax’s complaint, an ambulance arrived on the scene. First responders padded quickly into the establishment looking for a man holding his face in his lap. The first responders were role-playing, but the patrons and employees were clueless. Broadnax, division lead recruiter at Research Medical Center, said he would have dressed more casually had he known he would be placed in a stretcher, then rushed to the hospital. He rolled with the scene as concerned patrons watched. Some whispered. He might be having a heart attack, one said. A nursing student, who was there as a patron, asked to help. There was a spirit of concern, he said.

“It was somewhat of an education piece,” Broadnax said.

Broadnax agreed to portray someone with heart symptoms for a staged STEMI (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction) heart attack drill. He helps to hire employees in Research’s cardiac cath lab. Broadnax was familiar with the specialty, he said.

“I wanted to help out,” Broadnax said. “The response team was very fast. The process was good.”

Joe’s 63rd Street Barber Shop at 1672 E. 63 St. in Kansas City, Mo., was the scene for the staged community STEMI drill on Aug. 6. Joel Slatton, the owner, says he gets involved in the community as much as he can. He was happy to have the mock drill take place in his barbershop. It served as a safety reminder for his employees and customers, he said.

“We’re a community-based barbershop,” he said. “We are a busy barbershop. We’re one of the largest shops in Kansas City. We take pride in being positive and making it safe for our customers.”

A busy establishment was just what Lori Poteet had in mind when she developed the program. Poteet, RN, staff nurse in the cardiac cath lab, and chest pain coordinator for accreditation at Research Medical Center, initiated the mock STEMI drill as part of the chest pain accreditation process the hospital is working to attain. The hospital is required to re-certify every three years, Poteet said. She had heard about community mock drills in other cities and saw it as a powerful tool.

“I just thought that would be a great way to show the community you need to call 9-1-1 when you have chest pain. You never overestimate that. You need to call 911.”

Poteet coordinated with Slatton, the ambulance service and Research to stage the scene of a man who was presenting symptoms of a STEMI heart attack. The mock drill was a community awareness event, Poteet said.

“We were thinking of something innovative to show off our ability to educate the community and give exemplary care to heart attack patients,” she said.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Heart attacks are becoming more and more prevalent among young and middle-aged men of African-American descent, Poteet said. That is the population that Poteet wanted to target for her inaugural drill.

“I thought we could hit a good target audience,” she said. “Also his barbershop is very busy. It was overflowing with patrons. We just thought that it would be a good place.

He was more than willing to help us out.”