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Our Nurse of the Week is Debbie Bowerman, an ER nurse who was working at Sunrise Hospital the night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas last fall. Following that traumatic experience, Bowerman developed a habit of always scanning public spaces for the nearest emergency exits, preparing a plan for the fastest way out.
Talking about her habit of walking herself through escape plans when she’s at public events, Bowerman tells SLTrib.com, “I don’t do these things because I live in fear. I do them because I have come face to face with the reality of: This can happen anywhere.”
Bowerman wasn’t at the festival, but she witnessed the carnage firsthand while working in the emergency room which took in about 200 patients in the hours following the shooting. That night, Bowerman was working in the ambulance bay, the first person to assess each gunshot victim as they arrived at the hospital. She recalls being left on her own to pull patients out of ambulances, police cars, Ubers, taxis, and pickup trucks arriving with multiple people inside each of them.
After making it through her shift, Bowerman struggled to sleep for days afterward. She couldn’t stop thinking about the patients she had treated and reflecting on how the experience had affected her and her fellow medical professionals.
However, the experience reinforced to Bowerman that she’s meant to be an ER nurse. Following that experience, Bowerman plans to seek out more training on mass casualty situations and self-healing techniques to help advocate for her fellow nurses and medical professionals.
To learn more about Bowerman’s experience working in the ER the night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas, visit here.