Published Jan 9, 2005
Has anyone done anything like this? How did you start and where have you been? What kind of background do you have? I am very interested in helping in the future. Thanks!
renerian, BSN, RN
I took some training at the red cross for local disasters. Never called which is in reality a good thing/no local disaster/big smile.
I wanted to do what you posted before but all the places I could find/including helping the disaster vics now, are unpaid/of course with you paying all your fees. I cannot do that......
LolaRN, the only experience I have is that I recently took the initial "Disaster Response Training" offered through my church for people in this part of the state. We were given information about what to expect on site of a disaster & procedures to follow. We were given an extensive information form to complete about where we were willing to serve & what our background, skills & talents were. I did check international as well as national & local. I know that our denomination will be involved in long term rebuilding after the tsunami, but have no idea how they pick volunteers to go. So, we are waiting to see what happens now. We were given a few hrs. of food preparation, serving & safety and chain saw use training (for the men). They also offered child care & counseling sessions. I do not know if my nursing skills will be used or not, but I've never been in a situation yet where they weren't used to at least some extent.
So, you can receive information most likely from your church/denomination, & the American Red Cross would be another source. Also, your state nurses association (ANA) would have information.
Go for it! RetiredMSN
I have not done disaster nursing, however I did work for 10 days at a clinic in rural Mexico. Each of us in the group that was going worked hard for a year to raise the $$ to send us and begged, badgered and pleaded for supplies and good used clothing. Each of us took a backpack with our clothes and two big suitcases full of supplies. We slept in the clinic, which was very crowded, and people from the community came in to cook for us. There was no hot water, so morning showers were definitely short & invigorating.
Each evening we would hold a teaching session for the community -- since only 3 of us spoke Spanish, I had to translate my share (and it had been YEARS since I'd used it -- was I ever rusty! but it was apparently understandable and the folks there got a big kick out of my fumbling). We were split into teams, and then each team would be assigned to the clinic or the community. We did Pap smears, visited disabled people, did assessments, ECGs (the machine was so old it only had the grounds and one other lead...so we'd move it from site to site and label it), more teaching, and then made notes for the MD, since he'd see the people who needed more than we could give them. I didn't get to do quite as much medical as I wanted since I was translating, but that was OK, too. :)
I got to do some brief counseling with one lady who was probably suffering from PTSD and depression, and also did a digital rectal exam on an ancient maiden lady who could not bear for the male MD to do that to her (he stood behind a curtain and I described what I was feeling...weird, but it worked I guess).
It was a very rewarding experience, and I hope to repeat it some day (hopefully after my youngest is in college -- he's 15 now, so not that much longer!)
I know this is an old post- but i have been researching this as well. a classmate of mine does relief work via the red cross and he leaves the country - it's not just for his state. Also - the red crescent in europe does the same. have you seen the nurses without boarders site? they pay for your food and lodging... good luck.
ooops! alos - idealist.org is a great resource!!
I am looking for a group that takes RN's for diaster work ; as in the recent Earthquakes Haiti, Chile
tnbutterfly - Mary, BSN
You might want to post in the Natural Disaster Forum.
There are many links for medical organizations that provide international disaster relief.
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