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Caring for those who care: the role of the occupational health nurse in disasters.

Authors
  • Tomczyk, Dennis
  • Alvarez, Della
  • Borgman, Patricia
  • Cartier, Mary Jo
  • Caulum, Lois
  • Galloway, Cindy
  • Groves, Cindy
  • Faust, Naomi
  • Meske, Denise
Type
Published Article
Journal
AAOHN journal : official journal of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2008
Volume
56
Issue
6
Pages
243–250
Identifiers
PMID: 18604920
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Since the events of 9/11, health care facilities have devoted substantial resources to emergency preparedness, especially for a surge of patients in a large-scale incident. Hurricane Katrina reinforced the need for such surge planning. Due to the SARS experience in Toronto, health care professionals have had increased awareness of their "duty-to-care" responsibility. These caregivers make the decision, even when they themselves may be at risk, to continue to care for patients. However, little has been done about planning to care for these caregivers. Health care professionals can be deeply affected physically, emotionally, and spiritually when caring for patients in a large-scale incident. Emergency preparedness professionals must consider the needs of health care providers because providers must care for a large number of patients with limited resources under stressful conditions. It is the obligation and responsibility of each health care organization to care for these caregivers. However, when assigning responsibility for this task, it becomes evident this responsibility belongs to employee health nurses, "employee advocates," and organizational leaders.

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