Title: Disaster management in pediatric nursing department
Disaster is a situation or event which overwhelms local capacity, necessitating a request to national or international level for external assistance (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters). Historically disaster is recorded with the deluge during Noah’s period. The Crimean war saw the first disaster nurse named Florence Nightingale. Disaster management involves both natural and manmade which statistically is on the rise. Disaster management is a complex event which involves multidisciplinary approach both at community as well as the Hospital.
The pediatric nurse has to play an active role in the disaster management. In 2006 International Council of Nurses (ICN) emphasized that Disaster preparedness, including risk assessment and multi-disciplinary management strategies at all system levels, is critical to the delivery of effective responses to the short, medium, and long-term health needs of a disaster-stricken population. In 2009 ICN framework focused on building nursing capacity through disaster nursing competencies such as Triage, Hazard Vulnerability assessment, Incident Commander, Prevention and mitigation, Coordination, Crisis communication etc.
Every pediatric set up needs to have a disaster team and the nurses need to be trained for the disaster management.The role of the disaster nurse needs to be clearly stated and every member in the team needs to have a clear job description.There can be unforeseen disasters and readiness is essential to manage at any given time.Its generally observed that the nurses role has been mostly confined to rehabilitation, assessment and assisting the health care team.
In the pediatric department we have an active disaster team and the team co-ordination is very smooth.We conduct disater drills periodically in our department. Department Safety Advisor (DSA) was initiated. 80 % of the DSA’s are nurses who play a key role in disaster prevention and mitigation. Apart from this the nurses also perform Hazard Vulnerability assessment both at community as well as the hospital. Yet instead of looking at Disaster Nurse as a single entity it becomes imperative to focus on the dictum that “Every Nurse is a Disaster Nurse”. As like CPR being mandated for all nurses, it should become that all nurses should also be certified in disaster nursing competencies.
Today in Asia there is no structured training program for disaster nursing. Dr MGR Medical University of Tamil Nadu has become the first university in India to make it mandatory that all the final year nursing students should have undergone 2 days training in Disaster Nursing. The past 2 years have seen that all the graduating nurses are disaster trained, making it important to build disaster nurse database for Tamil Nadu.
In the pediatric set up we feel that we need to grow much more in this field. We have Mr. Ravi kumar who had been our disaster team co-ordinator for the instituition who envisioned the following:
1. Disaster Management (Nursing) Training center in India which should offer structured short time (4-5 days) Disaster Nursing certification competency based workshop
2. Disaster Nurse database for Tamil Nadu
3. Research in Disaster Nursing
4. Trained Disaster nurse to develop are silent community by offering training to public as well as school safety
Thus in nutshell the focus of Disaster Nurse is to be
• Play pivotal role in disaster mitigation, prevention and management both at Pre Hospital as well as In Hospital and community.
Every nurse seated here should consider safety aspects in our country and in the event of a disaster, are we competent to manage the disaster along with the team.
Let’s be proactive as pediatric nurses to see the visions come true so that we can ensure safety din the hospital setup aswell in the community.