RNs' Role in 9/11 Response

by -jt Member

Journal Focuses on Nurses' Role in 9/11

Latham, NY, August 14, 2002 - The role played by registered nurses in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center is examined in the Spring/Summer 2002 issue of The Journal of the New York State Nurses Association.

The issue includes articles and poems written by nurses who responded to the devastation in lower Manhattan, combined with scholarly articles on the implications of the tragedy on the future of nursing and nursing education.

"September 11 was unique in the history of the United States and New York," said Anne Schott, the journal's managing editor. "This issue is a departure from our usual content as we focus on how that day has affected nurses both professionally and emotionally."

Experiences at or near Ground Zero are shared by Maria Gatto, a community health nurse from New Jersey, and Lucille Yip, an emergency room nurse at St. Vincents Medical Center in lower Manhattan. Gatto, who saw the collapse of the World Trade Center on television, immediately went to the site as a volunteer. Yip lived in Chinatown, at the time of the attack and her article chronicles both her professional encounters and her personal pain at the change in the skyline outside her window. Entries from the nurses own journals as events happened are emotionally powerful and moving.

The issue also includes five poems by Jackie Cataldo, a Brooklyn resident and Red Cross volunteer. She describes the sights and sounds of September 11, from exhausted rescue workers to vendors selling souvenirs of the tragedy.

Carol Noll Hoskins, a professor of nursing at New York University, describes her experience as a Red Cross emergency relief volunteer assigned to help survivors, rescue workers, and families copes with the aftermath of September 11.

In the months that have followed the terrorist attacks, nurse educators have been considering how to best prepare for such events in the future. An article by Carla Mariano, a professor at New York University, describes a survey of master's level nursing students that found they felt unprepared to deal with crises, especially the emotional needs of clients or patients. Mariano has developed a successful course on crisis theory and intervention.

An analysis of nurses' experiences on September 11 was conducted by a group of nurse researchers led by Suzanne Dickerson, an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo School of Nursing. After interviewing 17 nurses who were involved in the disaster response, they found six major themes: loss of the familiar, frustration at the lack of patients, dealing with bureaucracy, rediscovering pride in nursing, personal stress, and the need to prepare for the future.

In an editorial introducing this issue of Journal, guest editors Sonia Baker and Phyllis Lisanti expressed the feelings of many nurses across the country. "To all nurses and particularly New York nurses, we want to thank you for your remarkable dedication and caring," they wrote. "You are the pride of America and our nursing profession."

The Journal articles are posted at NYSNA's Web site in pdf format.

To view, go to http://www.nysna.org/publications/journal/journal.htm

and click on Spring/Summer 2002

NYSNA is the professional association for registered nurses in New York with more than 34,000 members statewide. A multipurpose organization, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity and collective bargaining. NYSNA is a constituent of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and its labor arm, the United American Nurses (UAN), which is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

Contact - Nancy Webber: 518.782.9400, ext. 223

email at: INFO@NYSNA.org


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