Role of Nursing in Dealing with Emergencies, Epidemics, and Disasters
October 28, 2020
Nurses serve an extremely significant role in preparing for emergencies at national and international levels with the help of steps such as detailed planning, community education, and sensitization combined with offering direct care at the time of disasters. In fact, nursing in Canada is strengthened by educating nursing professionals to participate in almost all phases of disaster preparedness and responding accurately.
Not only are the nurses helpful within the institution they serve when it comes to hazard assessment and planning before a disaster, but they are also helpful in responding when a crisis occurs. At the time of hiring nurses in Canada or for that matter in any other country, the ability of nursing professionals is counted very important in dealing with vulnerable populations. It is a prerequisite that the nurses must be well educated to respond to the needs of patients who are dealing with the perils of emergencies, epidemics, and disasters.
Unfortunately, health disasters or epidemics are becoming increasingly common and our ability to deal with them is lagging behind. The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most momentous years of a worldwide health emergency. The spread of coronavirus tested everyone in all capacities, but most importantly the health care professionals.
The only reason we could deal with such a vast pandemic was because of the expert assistance of doctors and nurses. Forgetting their own safety, nurses have constantly been on duty. They have ensured the physical, mental, and emotional healing of patients affected by the CoronaVirus.
In other times as well, when infections such as HIV/AIDS, Dengue, other types of flu, or when food and waterborne diseases become the reason for mass catastrophe, the role played by nurses often steps in as a saving grace.
In this blog, we will look at the role of nursing in dealing with emergencies, epidemics, and disasters by understanding various factors, one after another.
Nursing and Emergency Preparedness:
As the first point of contact healthcare professionals, particularly the nurses are excessively involved in the processes that lead to emergency preparedness and recovery. There is a multitude of steps to be taken, so nurses consider assessing their own skillset, evaluating any possible threats that are likely to affect a community, and adopting strategies that help in preparing for the worst.
The process is even more detailed and efficient in developed or high-income countries. For example, the state of nursing in Canada is enhanced by researching the local threats and strategies that are more than likely to prevent disasters.
This is done by educating the masses about the possible health threats and taking action to prepare for the important changes. Planning to administer the right medicines or shots to the patients and making a disaster management planner are some of the fundamental things that are important. Besides this, upscaling one’s own disaster management and preparedness training by considering courses, seminars, and drills that ensure one’s readiness is something that nurses do.
Healthcare in a disaster environment is different from everyday nursing care. So it is important that the nurses are trained with the right knowledge of disaster nursing education all around the world.
Sensitizing and Educating the Public During Health Emergencies:
If we look at every part of the world singularly then each comes with different and its own risks. Where some cities might be highly vulnerable to air and water-borne diseases, some others might be likely to face natural calamities such as cyclones, earthquakes, etc. Regardless of the type of danger that might lurk in these countries, they must be able to effectively manage the circumstances.
This is all the more true in the developed and populous countries. The recruitment process of hiring nurses in Canada or other countries must be done to ensure that nurses are either already educated or will be trained to deal with emergencies.
In addition, it is also necessary to examine and give due diligence to any possibility of a terrorist or crime-related health disasters such as mass shootings. This is because, at many places, the risks in terms of emergencies and disasters are rather intersecting and remain to almost all types. For instance, the wildfires that occurred in Australia led to mass casualties. In addition, when disasters strike, crowded communities, particularly the impoverished ones are a lot more vulnerable to spreading diseases.
At these times, it becomes important to educate the public so that maximum attention can be paid to promoting health. Some of the steps that can be taken are well-defined planning of seminars that educate to take measures for coping with problems. In addition, nurses also work with the community for implementing a disaster plan that is further capable of supporting the most vulnerable communities.
Not just this, nurses also discuss emergency planning with individual patients to ensure that the agency or a hospital is well prepared for common disasters. By assembling a disaster management plan, they make sure that the families are protected in case an unforeseen circumstance occurs.
Nurses educate and sensitize the public by including the key tools that must be included in a trauma kit. It is an established truth that one cannot effectively take care of others if their family suffers from an injury. So making sure that there is no lack of basic supplies such as food, medicines, and water is essential.
Other than this, nursing in Canada has also enhanced the sense that nurses create a well-defined disaster management plan with other agencies while dealing with any emergencies. Many times, nurses are responsible for creating a triage system for disasters, particularly the large scale catastrophes that stretch through resources or undermine the standards of care.
Nurses emotionally prepare for the challenges of disaster management with consecutive drills, open discussions, and planned courses of action like mindfulness and meditation. Nurses are the healthcare warriors who stay calm even in distress for delivering effective care.
Comprehensive Role of Nurses:
Nurses play an important role in maximizing the health and experiences related to healthcare. As a role, this extends to acknowledging and solving the needs of human beings at the time of disasters. At the time of disasters, nurses are well situated to reassure the patients that they will be able to overcome the disaster situation.
By facilitating effective communication and coordinating with the members of the healthcare teams, patients, and their families during a disaster, nurses make ends meet that help in defeating the trying circumstances. It is a well-known fact that clear communication is necessary for efficient disaster planning and response. Hence, with the help of detailed formal and informal communication and documentation, the role played by nurses is overall very significant.
In terms of a holistic role that is played by the nurses and other healthcare providers in collaborating with the officials involved at almost all levels of disaster preparedness, the importance is unprecedented. Other than educating the public about planning and taking steps of safety during disasters, nurses go long in going out of their ways to ensure the great well being and good health. This is exactly what enhances the state of nursing in Canada and other developing or developed countries.
Staying Prepared for the Worst:
By nature, an emergency or a disaster strikes without giving any prior warning and leave long-lasting effects. In terms of magnitude, even small and medium-sized disasters can affect the ability of a region to deal with the perils. Mostly, there is a large influx of patients who are physically affected and mentally afraid. This is in addition to the already sick patients who are fighting in the hospitals.
This is enough for a sign that the preparation that must be done to handle any emergencies. It is important the countries all over the world acknowledge and understand that nurses are not only a resource but the first line of defense in healthcare as well. In cases of catastrophic problems such as emergencies, disasters, and epidemics, nurses are the protector, savior, and often the healthcare leaders.
Anytime when an emergency or a disaster strikes, nurses play an effective role in interdisciplinary teams by taking charge of prevention and cure. Nurses are at the forefront of disaster prevention, preparation, response, recovery, and evaluation. They are not only known to historically integrate the psychological, social, and family-oriented aspects of care, but they also have an indelible role to play in the effective functioning of health care delivery systems during emergencies.