Nursing students chronicle stories of Bothell fire

Jennifer Warmke, Karen BowmanUniversity of Washington Bothell nursing students have a role in helping the city of Bothell deal with a devastating downtown fire. Students in Karen Bowman’s community health classes have interviewed first responders, city officials, business owners and workers about the impact of the fire that destroyed two commercial buildings and damaged others.

Bowman, right, a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Health Studies, shared the work of her students at a booth at Saturday’s block party, marking one year since the July 22, 2016 fire. She was joined by Jennifer Warmke, the city’s emergency management coordinator.

In addition to recording the interviews for a video about the psychological and social impacts of the fire, the students helped just by listening to people and giving them the opportunity to sort through their feelings, Bowman said.

The interviews that began in spring quarter continued with a summer quarter class and could continue in the next school year, Bowman said.

“A lot of individuals felt comforted being interviewed, being able to talk about it,” Bowman said. And it gave nurses the opportunity to exercise interpersonal skills of active listening and offering a comforting word.

Bothell fire truck

Warmke said the city welcomes the collaboration with the UW Bothell instructor and students. The interviews also gave first responders an unofficial avenue to express themselves.

“Everyone in the community is still rebuilding and working on recovery,” Warmke said. “It’s huge for them to realize that too because they’re such a big part of it.”