RNs and Therapists: Are You Trained in Disaster Competencies?
Tips on What to Do for Victims in the Event of a Disaster
Registered nurses and allied healthcare professionals typically treat patients in a controlled environment, but when natural disasters or acts of terrorism strike the communities they live in, they are called upon to provide emergency treatment outside of a hospital. These are a few disaster preparedness tips that travel nurses and therapists can use to help victims in the event of a disaster.
- Seek training in disaster competencies. Healthcare professionals at American Traveler have access to free and unlimited Continuing Education (CEUs), and can take these courses online. To date, there are several CEdirect courses on mass casualty as well as emergency preparedness, and what other nurses (besides ED and trauma) can do to assist the public and victims waiting in shelters. Click on this professional resources link to find relevant nurse licensure, education and training information that make you better prepared in a crisis.
- Keep current on basic life-support certification and make sure your training covers CPR and first-aid skills: Most healthcare employers require BLS certification, but not necessarily first-aid treatment, which is strongly encouraged for an R.N. at any skill level. Basic first-aid training is always available through the American Red Cross.
- Keep basic nursing tools, clothes and a pair of shoes in your car at all times: It’s challenging to treat critically wounded people without a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, or IV fluids, but having these on hand is strongly encouraged: CPR mask, gloves, water, supplies to make a tourniquet; basic nursing supplies might also include clothing, like a T-shirt or belt—that can be used as a tourniquet.
- Know your Nursing ABCs: The first things a registered nurse should attend to in a health emergency are airway, breathing and circulation — or compressions. Make sure you know your environment well enough to support the ABCs until paramedics arrive, like how to make a tourniquet when and where to use it, as well how to elevate injured limbs. Take this advice from FEMA: The Federal Emergency Management Agency advocates everyone, not just healthcare professionals, take action in the event of a disaster. Doing what you can to prevent loss of life and further property damage is a matter of educating yourself. Click on this FEMA link to learn more about joining a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program.
- Avoid “Hot Zones” if you don’t feel qualified to assist. Nurses are a valuable asset, but need to be confident of their skill set in order to stay safe. R.N.s should not go to a front-line disaster relief station without the proper training.
- Let Your Family Know Your Disaster Relief Plan: If you’re an R.N. with training in disaster/mass incidents, and expect to one day use emergency supplies in the trunk of your car, make sure your family knows what to do and where to go when you have been called away on an emergency. Spread the word in your community that you are an experienced first-responder and will answer any questions that you can, when you can.
Nursing and Therapy Jobs in all 50 U.S. States Await Your Helping Hands
Doctors, nurses and citizens alike should be personally prepared when emergency events strike a community. American Traveler wishes all its healthcare professionals the best in assisting victims and providing comfort and information to the people who need it. Call 1-800-884-8788 or apply online today to work in compassionate and life-saving healthcare jobs in all 50 U.S. states.
Footnote: The Information used in this post was taken from an article entitled ‘Anytime, anywhere” that appeared on Nurse.com.