Challenges community nurses face

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How  does  extreme  weather  impact  upon  the  workload  of  nurses  in  the  community?

Extreme weather increases the number of casualties who visit the hospital. This is because, sometimes it is of an unexpected nature, or overwhelming and people are still caught off guard. Extreme weather of unexpected nature includes earthquakes, tsunami, volcano eruption and even blizzards. Sometimes the weather prediction is not right and people are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes rain begins slowly and ends up as a flood.

For farmers, pedestrians, animals and people living in lowlands and valleys, they are affected the most. In extreme cases, both people and animals die from floods. When an earthquake takes place, it is likely for people living in mountain and hillsides experience mudslides. The land shifts and houses crumble and people die. This makes for several casualty and fatal cases. The worst slides recently have hit the people of Sierra Leone and the recent earthquakes in Japan and Mexico have left people devastated.

When a flood hit a small town in Italy, a historical ridge collapsed due to the force of the water, killing dozens. The impact of extreme weather means the emergency and trauma units of the hospitals are full to capacity. It also means there are several hysterical and hurt people, including a family who needs to be comforted. This is the job of the nurses. To support the family members as they take shifts to also treat the injured. It is a hard task, that takes a lot of emotional effort and patience.

The workload is so heavy, all nurses are needed on deck. This means those who were on leave, are summoned back to work to care for the injured and sick. They may also have to work overtime depending on the traumatic effects of the extreme weather. The US and Australia have historically had cases of wildfires, where the heat waves experienced during summer season causes spontaneous burning of their woodlands. This results in several people losing their homes and some of them, their lives due to the force and spread of the wildfire.

This is why trauma response is important. It is important to give your nurses adequate training on how to respond to disaster relief cases and be fast and efficient. Time is of the essence, it helps to work quickly in such cases. To save a life and move to the next person who needs you. This includes the obvious first aid which every seriously injured patient needs as they await doctor’s treatment and diagnosis. Nurses are responsible for the pre-care before going to see a doctor and the aftercare for treatment and medicine administration.

They take your high blood pressure, weight, get to know your symptoms and medical history to determine the next best course of action. If training is not done or completed by nurses, when faced with the influx of patients on the day of a disaster, they become patients too. They panic because they do not know how to respond. They become overwhelmed by the large numbers of patients and family members wanting answers on their loved one’s status. They also become anxious because they are worried about their loved ones too.

Prepare for the worst but hope for the best. This saying should embody the entire hospital staff attitude, and as a reminder, always stay calm. When in a frenzy, be the person who can be relied upon, who can rally others to a calm stated of mind, and field questions slowly while also asking for help. In these difficult situations, a nurse becomes a leader. She must lead both patients and relatives to a safe place mentally and physically as well. Through treatment, the following procedure and delivering support where it is needed.

Therefore, after considering this article, an efficient emergency response needs to be put in place for natural disaster relief. For the benefit of both patients’ and hospital staff alike.