Restraint Urged for Clinicians Seeking to Volunteer in Haiti

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    "The spontaneous volunteer has no place in disaster response," asserted James J. James, MD, DrPH, MHA, director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response, at the American Medical Association (AMA), during a webinar held today for medical and public health responders to assist them in preparing for the Haitian earthquake disaster relief effort.
    For physicians and nurses who want to volunteer, Dr. James urged, "Don't go unless you are as part of an organized team or have assurance when you arrive that you will be joining one.
    "In addition...
    http://www.medscape.com/ (7th link under News - requires registration)

    Registration is required to view site--it's FREE!!! Site has wonderful reliable nursing and healthcare info--including some free CEU'S along with FREE ARTICLEs from various nursing publications....well worth your viewing time. NRSKarenRN
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jan 20, '10
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  3. 27 Comments so far...

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    This is how I see it. I intend, at some point in time when I am better settled, to take the ARC disaster preparedness course and to become affiliated with an organized response team, if possible. I wasn't ready for this one, but maybe I will have the ability to respond to the next one.
    herring_RN and Onekidneynurse like this.
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    If you read between the lines of this article, it sounds like some people are going down there unprepared and running about willie-nillie. It would never occur to me to something like that. Think about it, you could get kidnapped, murdered for the clothes on your back or just disappear.
    tsalagicara, LinzyRN, herring_RN, and 5 others like this.
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    Quote from oramar
    Think about it, you could get kidnapped, murdered for the clothes on your back or just disappear.
    I guess that is a possibility, but the reports from several folks on the ground are that by and large people are peaceful and helping one another. I felt safer alone at night in Haiti than I've felt many places in the US putting gas in my car at night. Not saying it wouldn't/couldn't happen, just that it's good to hear that most people aren't that way.

    www.livesayhaiti.blogspot.com for some on-the-ground reports of how some medical teams are being used.

    I do agree that it's pretty irresponsible to just fly down there and expect to be housed, fed, and put to work when no one knows who you are, where you're from, and what you're doing there. Triple that if you don't speak Creole.
    momology, tsalagicara, DolceVita, and 2 others like this.
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    A better link please?
    Last edit by sirI on Jan 19, '10
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    Quote from Onekidneynurse
    A better link please?
    This is a free site. You will have to register to view the article.

    Or, you can try googling. You may find another link.
    leslie :-D likes this.
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    Rather than the American Red Cross you may wish to think about an MRC (medical reserve corps). Red Cross volunteer nurses do perform much in the way of nursing duties and many of them find it frustrating. Remote Area Medical is a great organization as is doctors without borders (not all doctors by the way).

    As for showing up in a disaster area without being affiliated -- yep it makes for a complete mess. Aid agencies will in fact considered you to be an "affected person". Essentially they have people who will process the affiliated groups and all of their credentials are checked before they deploy. I have been in the position of not being able to verify credentials for spontaneous volunteers and it just burns up time.

    So join your local MRC or something now and be ready for the next one -- or for deployment later.
    momology, Libitina, Teresag_CNS, and 4 others like this.
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    They just had another good size earthquake down there. I had thought about that possibility. From watching all those geological shows on History Channel/Science Channel I noticed that a lot of big earth occur in clusters. In the 1700 earth quakes swarm down in Memphis area along the Madras fault there was three earthquakes of 8 magnitude in two months and about a million after shocks.
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    Wayyyyy off topic but we have the New Madrid fault too.

    Kinda make you want to keep chlorination tablets in your pocket.
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    To those contemplating going to assist in the disaster relief efforts in Haiti, Fastaff has a contract with the government to supply nurses during disaster situations. They are staffing RNs at this point in anticipation of getting the official request from the U.S. military. If you can't handle death and chaos stay here in the states!!!! I have been doing travel nursing and I can tell you from dealing with some of the nurses that can't handle what happens in the hospitals in a controlled environment who surely couldn't function there. No one is allowed to fly to Haiti on there on!!! They are not receiving any domestic flights. If you go with a company like Fastaff you have to make a two week commitment and once you are there you will be there until the end of your two weeks. I will be going later after things are a little more settled as I did after hurricane Katrina. But be prepared to see things that make Katrina look like a picnic and we all know how that turned out. I don't believe you would have to worry about being kidnapped. They want food, water and shelter not tired nurses!!! LOL!!If you have a passport and a strong stomach then by all means go and help! Oh, by the way Fastaff is paying $40ph and you have to work 14 straight 12 hour shifts. I personally know that they can pay a lot more for what they are asking nurses to endure and I'm holding out until then. I have no problem with the conditions but I be dang if I'm going to put my life on the line for a company to make $200 ph off of my labor and only get $40 ph and I'm doing all the work and making all the sacrifices!
    ese1212, Ms_ILLRN, momology, and 2 others like this.


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