Disaster! Rnready!

Nurses are often called to provide aid and care during a variety of disasters, including war, complex emergencies with displaced populations, large scale disasters that disrupt the normal delivery of health care to a community, and local emergencies that temporarily put a strain on resources. In such settings, nurses utilise their unique skills, abilities, and understanding of the community for the betterment of the population by striving to deliver the highest attainable level of care that the adverse circumstances allow.

As health care providers, nurses, therefore, should be well prepared for their potential role in a disaster. With this in mind, the Philippine Red Cross Boracay-Malay Chapter conducted the first Disaster Nursing Training Course in Aklan, held at Cordero’s Cottage Sitio Sugod, Manoc-Manoc, Boracay on May 31 to June 2, 2013. Ten young registered nurses attended the course and participated in all the phases of disaster to the full extent of their capabilities.

Through various activities, participants were able to identify why our country is prone to different kinds of disasters, both natural and man made, they came up with a specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-bound Nursing Care Plan for a community stricken by a calamity.

Specific nursing roles in disaster assignment were also practiced, such as those in emergency did stations, shelters, disaster relief head quarters, hospitals and mortuaries. Therapeutic communication skills were practiced as they performed proper psychosocial approaches for the victims of disaster or those who have been through crises events.

On the last day of training, participants underwent a simulation activity on “Mass Casualty Incidents”, and experienced the thrill of responding and triaging where the quantity of patients exceeds the number of health care providers and a higher priority is granted to victims which immediate or longer term needs and how it can be affected by either simple or intensive care.

We cannot stop disasters, but we can increase our capacity to act through planning, preparing and enhancing our knowledge and skills with training in such courses as the Disaster Nursing Training Course; a relevant and timely training for every nurse who plays a significant role in promoting and delivering health services among their people. The success and positive feedback from this event from participants opens another door for more training in the future for nurses and other allied health professionals.

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