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Editor’s CE Picks: RNs and Disasters

Monday January 25, 2010
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The earthquake in Haiti has opened the eyes of the world to the devastation possible when nature collides with a culture that normally exists suboptimally. Many of the professionals serving there will witness structure destruction, traumatic injuries, death, unsanitary conditions, and disease like they have never seen before. Introduction to this foreign land may be shocking at first, but the situation demands quick adjustment and focus on the mission at hand.

Haiti’s circumstances have stirred discussion about what the U.S. response should be. However, one thing is certain — the military, healthcare, and other personnel spearheading this humanitarian effort need America’s full support while performing their duties there and when they return home. As a nurse you may ask, “What can I do to support the efforts in Haiti?” It’s simple. Take stock of your knowledge about diaster preparedness, post-traumatic stress, and transitioning those who serve back into our communities. The full effects of time spent on this mission may not be evident until months later. As nurses, we need to be prepared to support relief workers and their families during post-disaster recovery.

Amidst the tragedy, the best attributes of Americans are clearly evident — an unwavering dedication to the mission, efficient multitasking, selflessness, compassion, and the ability to meet needs under impossible conditions. For me, observing these efforts has rejuvenated a sense of pride in not only being an American, but being a nurse practitioner and the daughter of an 82nd Airborne veteran. I am confident that when the time comes, we will all be ready to welcome our outstanding folks home — one hero at a time.

To enhance your knowledge about supporting those who serve in disasters, consider reading:

CE409-60 RNs Shelter Victims of Disaster — Learn how Disaster Health Services nurses work with other team members in American Red Cross shelters to prevent injury and illness and to promote health in the aftermath of a major disaster.

CE382-60 Helping Veterans Back to Civilian Life — Enhance your understanding of the potential health concerns and psychological factors affecting combat veterans returning to civilian life.

CE117-60 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Part 1 — An Overview — Learn how to recognize the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.

CE 118-60 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Part 2 — Interventions — Review current treatment approaches for post traumatic stress disorder and aspects of the healing process.

Christina Dobson RN, MSN, FNP-C Editorial Director, Continuing Education