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Tips to prepare nursing staff for disasters

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Climate events are on the rise, and healthcare facilities around the country are preparing for natural disasters. Nurses need to be prepared as well. Here are some tips to keep your nursing staff disaster-ready.

Prepare yourself: As with most aspects of nursing, you cannot take care patients unless you take care of yourself. In a disaster, that means taking care of your family first: Deborah Adelman, PhD, RN recommends that nurses have a family disaster plan and jump kit that should include health insurance cards, nursing license, medications, food, and water. She also advises nurses to get portable phone charges and solar-powered flashlights in case of electricity outages. Nurses should also keep up to date on their facility’s disaster plan; take time to review the disaster plan with the nurses in your department so everyone feels comfortable with it.

Prepare the community: With facilities becoming more diverse and multifaceted, it’s important to keep in mind patient needs in every setting. Offering additional treatment opportunities in anticipation of an event, such as dialysis treatments, and redirecting patients and personnel to open facilities can save lives and streamline aid to the community. Because of the long hours and displacement involved in disaster care, plan to provide housing for employees and patients alike during an event.

For more information about preparing for a disaster, check out the following from the Strategies for Nurse Managers Reading Room:
Disaster planning: What we can learn from recent events
Disaster preparedness: Design, update, practice your plan

Source: American Mobile Nursing