The role of the nurse in emergency preparedness
Identification of a Community Emergency: Hurricane Ike 2008
The community emergency that was identified for this project was
Hurricane Ike, which took place in 2008 affecting the Eastern parts of
Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. The evacuation process faced
many challenges and it was not clear whether everyone who did not die in
the Hurricane was evacuated or not. The reasons for difficulty in
evacuation were the high speed of wind reaching up to 80 per hour. Apart
from the worries of evacuation speed, the other challenge that
immediately caught the attention of people was the shortage of gas,
leading to acute increase in the gas price.
Description of the Location and the surrounding area of emergency
The Hurricane affected the eastern parts of Texas, Western Louisiana and
Galveston Bay. The effects were felt along the North Eastern coast of
the United States, killing thousands of people. Emergency response team
managed to warn tens of thousands of people through mandatory evacuation
order in the Harris County and Houston in Texas. The same order applied
to Cameron Parish in Louisiana. Even the San Jacinto River was not
prepared at all.
Definition and Description of Triage Method used in Specific Emergency
Triage methods are the Emergency actions, which disaster response
departments worldwide follow in order to manage the overcrowding of
people around the emergency area. Sturm et al (2010) describes the
purpose of the triage system as to improve the service delivery
efficiency of the emergency care. It also offers priority on the cases
in the order of clinical urgency of the situation at hand. The triage
care methods are specific to emergencies and become one of the most
sensitive aspects of clinical intervention. The sensitivity is based on
certain factors such as crowding and the urgency. Clinical care offers
intervention where nurses assist the victims to recover from physical
and psychological pressure. Nurses encounter these pressures in all
emergency conditions which sometimes are life threatening.
Detailed Description of Traffic or coordination of evacuation or
Managing the movement of people during evacuation in an emergency area
requires combined efforts between the nurses and the security agents.
According to Moskop et al (2009), the traffic is developed because of
the number of patients who are seeking medical attention. The number
generally exceeds the number of staff responding to the disaster area.
Security authorities command the victims’ movement while nurses and
the rest of the rescue and evacuation team offer medical services at
strategic points to prevent overcrowding. Without any control,
overcrowding is a common state of affairs across the globe.
Description of Priority for treatment
Nurses and the rest of medical intervention department team give
priority treatment to the rescued victims. They subject every victim to
serious tests to ascertain that their conditions are stable. The
environment becomes extremely tight when medical workers are few and
resources are limited as they keep working in congested spaces. Patients
usually have to persevere before receiving attention from nurses or
being transferred to the available hospital facilities. At the same
time, those confirmed dead are removed from the rabbles but priority
only goes to the injured.
Description of Methods Used for Control of Emergency
Emergency control majorly depended on quick response rescue groups and
the communication method, which they apply. The first method is through
the evacuation team, whose communication was preventive to the
realization of casualties. Their warnings prior to the occurrence of the
Hurricane enabled tens of thousands to escape from its effects.
Demarcation of the emergency area put it under control making it
impossible for the public to access the emergency rescue area.
Federal and Public Health System Collaboration
During the mission of emergency rescue, both the federal health
employees and the public health service workers have no distinction.
They both work together to pursue the common goal of rescuing and
treating as many people as possible. The collaboration is a form of
synergy considering that workforce can be overwhelmed by the number of
Description of the Impact of the emergency
The impact of the emergency is rated in terms of the number of people
who lost their lives in the emergency, the number of people injured and
the number of property lost (Christian et al, 2006). It has an indirect
impact, which reflects on the amount of work available for health care
or nursing workers, the resources spent and the time consumed. The same
effects are felt in the economy since the available work force reduces.
The effect of emergency engages the local populations to be naturally
involved in the rescue process, especially through blood donation.
Summary of the Information
Structure of Community Health Nursing
The community health nursing is mobile and flexible to arrive at any
emergency rescue locations. They have transportation facilities to
enable them access medical premises promptly. During emergencies, they
work in collaboration with the federal healthcare teams in a combined
Process of Community health nursing
The community health nursing staff waits for the security and emergency
response department to rescue people from the destruction. They then
confirm the status of the patient, whether safe, injured or dead. They
give priority to those injured in attempt to rescue.
Outcome of Community health nursing
The result as seen in the incident of Hurricane Ike shows that the
statistics contains dead people, sick and missing lives. The victims who
pass through the hands of the community health nurses successfully get
back to their good health. Whichever the outcome, their efforts are
considered a success.
Moskop. J. C., Sklar, D. P., Geiderman, J. M., Schears, R. M & Bookman,
K. J. (2009). Emergency department crowding, part 1- concept, causes,
and moral consequences. Ann Emerg Med, 53(5):65-71.
Sturm, J. J., Hirsh, D. A., Lee, E. K., Massey, R., Weselman, B. &
Simon, H. K. (2010). Practice characteristics that influence nonurgent
pediatric emergency department utilization. Acad Pediatr, 10(1):70-14.
Christian, M. D., Hawryluck, L., Wax, R. S., Cook, T., Lazar, N. M.,
Herridge, M. S., Muller, M. P., Gowans, D. R., Fortier, W. & Burkle, F.
M. (2006). Development of a triage protocol for critical care during an
influenza pandemic. CMAJ, 175(11):137-81.
The role of the nurse in emergency preparedness