How Hospitals and Nurses Can Prepare and Respond to Natural Disasters
When considering a disaster preparedness plan, hospitals, nurses, and other medical professionals need to determine what kind of disasters to prepare for. Oftentimes, this is determined based on what region of the country the hospital is in. Leaders of hospitals near coastal areas, like Houston, should always have it in the back of their minds that a hurricane can strike. Because hurricanes often displace a lot of people, hospitals should hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Any disaster can result in the hospital caring for hundreds of extra patients. The ability to accommodate that without compromising patient care is key to an effective preparedness plan. Communication is also key. When disaster strikes, chaos has a tendency to follow. Hospitals can keep the level of chaos to a minimum by having a strong communication system in place between departments.
Nurses can also get involved in disaster preparedness by volunteering for things like their hospital’s Emergency Response Teams (ERTs). Often times, members of ERTs receive a wide scope of training for all major types of disasters and crises. By educating yourself, you can better serve your patients when they most need it.
What would you change or do differently? Does your hospital have a disaster preparedness plan?