A. Role of Public Health personnel during disaster
The role of the public health personnel inclusive of the Public Nurse is crucial in the twenty-first century nursing practice. According to a position paper written by the Association of State and Territorial Director of Nurses (ASTDS) Public health nurses have specific skills for intervening in times of disaster. Actually, they can be considered first responders in the crisis. Incidentally, in executing this role they are expected to function from a population based vision (ASTDS, 2007).
Public health personnel such as public health inspectors, doctors, first respondents are expected to execute and evaluate disaster preparedness plans when emergences occur to determine their efficacy and where or how to intervene. Precisely, public health officers must recognize their value as members of the emergency operations and command centers. This requires that they collaborate as leaders and mangers in their specific disciplines as frontline respondents with other experts such as ‘environmentalists, epidemiologists, laboratory workers, biostatisticians, physicians, social workers’ ( ASTDS, 2007) among the vast nonmedical skills they must embrace as clinicians of disaster ( ASTDS, 2007).
Even as the need for stronger infrastructures, systems and models surface the public personnel collaboratively must function above these setbacks to provide relief for victims and maximize the utilization of resources available as first responders in the situation. They must adapt the highest standard of professionalism in communicating with volunteers and other respondents. Their role also, encompasses engaging other nurses’ skills such as retirees, at the point of disaster. Ultimately, public health personnel are responsible for correlating experiences gained from disasters to intervene based on their training (ASTDS, 2007).
B. Description of Chain of Command in simulation by Community Health Nurse
It is the community health nurses’ function to be familiar with and bend express knowledge of the command chain endorsed as part of the Incident Command System (FEMA, 2006b). Below is a diagram, explaining this chain of command in simulation executed by the community health nurse.
The chain of command is headed by an incident commander to whom the public information, safety and liason officers are responsible. Next on an equal rating are operations, planning logistics and finance administrative sections with their staffing patterns. The community health nurse comes under the operations section being responsible to the operations manager (National Incident Management system, 2008).
There are numerous resources available to community health nurses when a disaster strikes. They consist of human as well as physical resources contained in products. Human resources appear as professionals in the collaborative process such as ambulance drivers; physicians, epidemiologists, red cross society and public volunteers. Physical resources are hospitals, public health clinics; ambulances; bandages; stretchers; walkers and the gamut of health care products needed to treat casualties in a disaster.
D. Actions of Community Health Nurse-Door to Door Interviews
The community health nurse should conduct door to door interviews in a professional manner. Confidentiality must be maintained throughout the process. Also, consent must be obtained before transferring data to a third party regardless of how critical the situation may appear during the interview. Actions taken by the community nurse include observing the neighborhood for infrastructural damage and questioning residents about their safety; then informing the chain of command of any unusual occurrences in the community such as suicides; assaults or exploitation due to the disaster.
E. Coping with Aftermath
Coping with the aftermath of a disaster could be very stressful for all public health personnel as well as the community. Here is where the nurse must intervene by applying competencies designed to be executed at this crucial moment (Gebbie and Qureshi, 2002). As such, actions that can be taken by the community nurse during interviews include being flexible based on the situation at hand, documenting and reporting to the chain of command. Thereafter, evaluation and recording of every verbal and non-verbal reaction should become an ongoing process because no two disasters look alike nor manually programed to be identical. Therefore, this aftermath period the role of the community health nurse is to offer support through refereeing clients to agencies that can off physical help (Gebbie & Qureshi, 2002).
In the aftermath it is common for depression to be exhibited by individuals. However, people cope differently in stressful situations and during the interview this should be identified as an important aftermath occurrence. It does not only mean that reassurance may to needed, but professional counseling as well (Gebbie & Qureshi, 2002).
E.1 Techniques used to calm fears
The public health nurse is equipped with numerous techniques to calm the fears of a distressed community. They involve applying reassurance strategies consistent with the implementation aspect of the nursing process. In interviewing residents the nurse must gain their confidence by telling them that people do care about their well-being and that they are there to help. Those who lost loved ones empathy must be expressed during the interaction so as to calm fears and offer comfort at the same time.
F. Preparation for nurses
After a disaster community health nurses ought to be retrained from evidence based studies regarding contemporary approaches to similar disasters in the future. It also entails public health nursing schools redesigning curriculum appropriately to embrace new knowledge gained from the experience.
ASTDN (2007). The Role of Public Health Nurses in Emergency Preparedness and Response. Position Paper
FEMA. (2 March, 2007). National Incident Management System Integration Center.
Retrieved September, 20th, 2012 from http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/index.shtm
Gebbie, K., & Qureshi, K. (2002). Emergency and Disaster Preparedness: Core Competencies for Nurses: What Every Nurse Should But May Not Know. American Journal of Nursing.102:46
National Incident Management System (2008). Homeland Security. Retrrieved 21st September,2012 from http://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nims/NIMS_core.pdf