Nurses are often at the front lines of disaster response. How prepared are nurses—and the hospitals and other facilities where they may work?
The television news reports have recently been full of the devastating flooding in Louisiana. Especially heart-wrenching are the images of people, especially frail older adults, who are rescued with only a few meager possessions. They look shaken and frightened and too many say they’ve lost everything, the possessions of their lifetimes.
Many people will recover, with the help of friends and families, but some who are alone or isolated (or who just don’t deal well because of a variety of reasons) may experience undue stress. Sometimes, that stress can be overwhelming—and damaging to health.
We know—and applaud—all those nurses who volunteer with the American Red Cross and other relief agencies. Readers seeking to help survivors of disasters might find helpful information in our Responding to Disasters collection of articles. Especially useful might be the following:
“The Impact of Event Scale–Revised“ describes the use of a short questionnaire to assess a person’s response to a traumatic event. We published this in 2008, as part of our How to Try This Series, in partnership with the New York University College of Nursing’s Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing.
Another article of particular interest in AJN‘s disaster care collection might be “Disaster Care: Public Health Emergencies and Children.”
Nurses looking to get a clearer picture of what volunteering after a disaster can entail may be interested in these two series by Red Cross nurses who volunteered after devastating tornadoes struck in Alabama and Oklahoma: