The Role of the Nurse
Disasters can be natural as well as caused by humans. Hazardous materials emergencies include chemical spills and groundwater contamination. Workplace fires are more common and can cause significant property damage and loss of life. Communities are also vulnerable to threats posed by extremist groups who use violence against both people and property. Airports are naturally prone to disaster because of the large volume of people who pass through them daily. Unfortunately, aircraft accidents caused by pilot suicide, known as “intentional incidents” is on the rise (“ASN”, 2015).
All nurses who respond to an emergency situation should be trained at least minimally in first aid. Nurses who respond to emergency situations provide rapid assessment and treatment to patients in the initial phase of illness or trauma and often in life-threatening situations. The nurse during a disaster response is responsible for coordinating activities at the scene...
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...how to prepare for a disaster, who to notify when an event is unfolding, the assessment, diagnosing and treating of injuries and illnesses, incorporating clinical judgment skills, and supporting the community after the disaster (Orr, 2002).
Preparing for and responding to community disasters is a public health priority that needs to be addressed at a local and national level. The community’s resource pool of medical professionals needs to be available to respond to an emergency in an organized and professional manner. Public health nurses are an important part of the disaster response team. At the time of an emergency, all health professionals may be called upon to expand in non-routine practice areas, providing care or managing shelters for displaced populations. The public health nurse’s role is important in providing essential public health services.
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