‘Next Step’ Partners with North Memorial to Help Victims of Gun Violence
As shootings have increased in the northwest metro over the past year, that’s kept hospital staff at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, busy.
“It was a drastic increase for us in our penetrating trauma that we started seeing last year and it has continued unfortunately,” said Melanie Smalley, the trauma program manager at North Memorial Health Hospital. “Really takes a toll on… obviously the community first and foremost, but our providers, the staff in the emergency department, the staff in our operating rooms and ICU, and the trauma floor. It’s just kind of overwhelming to have such a great increase in such a short period of time and see it on such a regular basis.”
“With Next Step, I love being able to connect with these young individuals while they’re in the hospital,” said Larry Burgess, a case worker from the organization, Next Step. “Of course, you’re catching them at their vulnerable time. But them hearing that somebody, a complete stranger, cares about them — cares about their well-being, their living situation, their family, their holistic self.”
North Memorial began partnering with Next Step in 2018. On Monday, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, visited the hospital to learn more about how the program works.
When a victim enters the emergency room, North Memorial sends out a notification to Next Step. A case worker then comes out to either meet with the patient, or the patient’s family, and provides them with emotional support while they’re in the hospital, and beyond.
One of the goals of connecting the victim with a case worker is ensuring that the victim won’t seek revenge.
“Whatever it is that that person needs, or that their family needs to make a difference, Next Step is able to help them and provide,” said Sheila Nesbitt, North Memorial’s trauma and outreach prevention coordinator. “And they really try and work with and build that relationship with that family to help them.”
“I know personally how those who have experienced trauma, who have not had their trauma addressed, continue to perpetuate that trauma within their communities,” Rep. Omar said to the Next Step staff members. “So I am just really grateful to the work that you all are doing.”
If people want to learn more information about Next Step, you can click on this link.