With Nichole Stangel at the helm, the Critical Incident Stress Management team at Children’s Wisconsin is trained to respond to traumatic events and support providers as well as the broader community.
The CISM team provides crisis interventions and tools to help people process the physical and emotional stress of trauma and grief.
In the wake of the Waukesha Christmas Parade massacre in November 2021, the CISM team performed more than twice as many group interventions with Children’s Wisconsin staff and community groups as the year prior. Weeks later, 21 students were sent to Children’s Wisconsin for treatment after being exposed to chemicals when a piece of equipment malfunctioned in the pool at St. Augustine Prep Academy.
Stangel, who heads the CISM team as bereavement coordinator, said many on her staff worked 12-plus-hour shifts in the month of December 2021 due to a high volume of individuals, medical teams and community groups in need of support.
After the Waukesha Christmas Parade, the CISM team offered debriefing interventions within 12 and 72 hours to address the trauma right away. The team also did numerous one-on-one interventions to provide more personalized support. All told, 250 Waukesha School District staff and community members participated in CISM group interventions.