The Importance of Travel Nurses During a Natural Disaster

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By Katie McBeth

September 8, 2019

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The Importance of Travel Nurses During a Natural Disaster

This article is provided by: TNAA

The Importance of Travel nurses during natural disasters.

Travel Nurses During a Natural Disaster can be a huge benefit to the community and the local healthcare facilities. Natural disasters happen all the time, but when big ones hit our country — such as Hurricane Harvey and more recently Hurricanes Florence and Michael — we are all on high alert. When tragedy strikes close to home, people rush to donate their blood and money to organizations that can help the victims. As the stories develop, our social media newsfeed is flooded with updates and amazing stories of survival.

Roles of Travel Nurses During a Natural Disaster

As travel nurses, we have a major role to play in these situations. It is during natural disasters that travel nurses can really shine and show their merit. The roles that of a travel nurse during a national disaster is one of responsibility and commitment to the nursing industry as a whole.

Travel nurses are vital during natural disasters. It could be that your next assignment could be in a disaster zone, to help out with the aftermath. Let’s look at why travel nurses could play a key role in helping with the aftermath of a hurricane.

A Big City With Not Enough Nurses:

One of the biggest concerns with natural disasters revolves around the amount of people that are directly affected and displaced by the tragedy. Location has a lot to do with the severity of a storm. Urban areas are becoming increasingly overpopulated in our modern times. The more people that are affected, the more severe the disaster becomes.

Disaster response and emergency management specialists have been studying the rising cases of displacement due to natural disasters. As Eastern Kentucky University notes, urbanization is to blame for displacement, not the natural disaster itself. This is because so many large cities are improperly zoned and ill-prepared for large scale evacuations and disasters. Houston, certainly, suffered from this problem. It is a notoriously unregulated place in terms of zoning laws. Many of the expansions within Houston city limits have inhibited drainage. Unfortunately for the citizens of Houston, flooding was inevitable. Primarily due to poor urban planning.

Job Demands for Travel Nurses During a Natural Disaster

For travel nurses, this means jobs within the disaster zone will be in very high demand for months after a natural disaster. To add to the problems, many urban cities already suffer from nurse and physician shortages. Natural disasters only escalate the need for qualified professionals.

According to 2016 data provided by the Texas Health and Human Services: Texas is especially prone to a nursing shortage before 2030. The report continues to note: “By 2030, the supply of RN FTEs is expected to grow by 35.4% to 271,667, while demand will grow by 53.8% to 331,638, leaving a deficit of 59,970 RN FTEs.”

With the sudden need of medical help resulting from a natural disaster, travel nurses can be used to temporarily fill the gap. Alleviating stress for the overburdened hospitals in the area. However, assignments in natural disaster situations aren’t for everyone.

Not Your Average Nursing Assignment

Some of the most common organizations that employ volunteer nurses during natural disasters are the American Red Cross and RN Response Network (RNRN). Both of these organizations work hard to deploy nurses in crisis areas, but not all nurses will be up for the job.

For nurses on the front lines, life can be especially difficult. Many nurses will be working in less-than-ideal conditions (such as pop-up tents), and will be faced with all the stress that comes with crisis care. Many nurses may work extended hours, with little down time and even fewer chances to catch up on sleep. Burnout and and will most likely happen. Nurses will need to be prepared to counteract and deal with this unique type of stress.

For some nurses, the satisfaction they feel from helping those in crisis will be well worth the mental, physical, and emotional labor. Nurses with a strong internal constitution will fit in well with crisis care.

How and Where to Help as Travel Nurses During a Natural Disaster

Travel nurses can do their part by providing some much needed temporary support during the immediate aftermath of natural disasters. If you feel that traveling to crisis areas is within your capacity there are two ways to get involved.

  1. Volunteer with either the American Red Cross or RNRN (or another organization).
  2. Speak to your travel nurse recruiter about being moved to a crisis area as soon as possible.

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