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Posted: October 27th, 2022

The Public Health Nurse and Emergencies and Disasters

Discussion: The Public Health Nurse and Emergencies and Disasters
Other: I was assigned to discuss the recovery phase not the surveillance phase. Please kindly revisit the write up .
Multiple natural and man-made disasters have occurred throughout history. These events represent community emergencies when they are large enough to have a major impact on community functioning. When such events exceed the community’s capacity to manage them, they are called disasters. Because of the nature of these events and their impact on the people living in the affected communities, organized efforts must be employed to plan for, manage, and recover from the impact. Planning for, preventing, and responding to public health needs during times of emergencies and disasters has long been a role of public health nurses.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina demolished many U.S. communities in the southern Gulf of Mexico region, especially in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Imagine you are transported back in time and are practicing as a public health nurse with the New Orleans health department during the weeks leading up to, during, and following this disaster.

The following discussion is about Recovery Phase for disaster management for the New Orleans Health Department. Even though the recovery phase is the last step in a disaster management program, it is the most sensitive step that healthcare nurses need to consider more. The recovery phase entails efforts that try to recreate the affected area, bringing it to its original setting (Li, Jin, Hu & Wang, 2019). Any disaster, either natural or man-made disaster, in most cases, is usually associated with massive damage and health effects that call for a serious recovery phase. Some of the adverse health effects of a hurricane include injury, serious illnesses, and even death. Healthcare nurses need to first gather information concerning the degree and extent of the effects of a disaster before initiating the recovery program.
With the increasing frequent climate changes, it is important to have a disaster management program in New Orleans. Hurricane is one of the natural disasters calling for a special disaster management approach (Glassey, 2018). In the context of natural disaster management, and effective recovery phase can assist healthcare nurses to respond to the health and social needs emerging from a hurricane. However, one major challenge in a recovery phase is that healthcare nurses in New Orleans cannot achieve recovery goals alone without help from other organizations.
One major role of healthcare nurses during the recovery phase is reducing the spread of communicable diseases that emerge from a hurricane. Some of these illnesses emerge from the uncontrolled movement of water and they include typhoid, influenza, diarrheal infections, and acute respiratory diseases (Lee, Lee, & Lim, 2019). Hurricanes involve massive movement of water over a wide area which can result in severe effects such as flooding (Klotzbach, Bowen, Pielke & Bell, 2018). Water pollution is also a major health effect that can emerge from a hurricane where pollutants come into contact with clean water. Therefore, communicable diseases usually emerged and they end up spreading to many people since members of the public are not in a position to control them.
Therefore, a key role that healthcare nurses can play in helping public members is offering affordable medical services to affected patients. Some of the illnesses such as influenza and typhoid require medical treatments that are rather expensive (Lee, Lee, & Lim, 2019). Considering other effects of hurricanes, most of the public members may not be in a position to afford medical services. Some of these public members ignore seeking medical attention as they try to save their damaged properties. Therefore, healthcare nurses need to ensure that there are enough medical services that public members can access at low costs or even freely.
Another role of healthcare nursing during the recovery phase of hurricane management is offering health education to public members. Health education starts with how public members can avoid the affected areas such as flooded regions. Health practitioners can assist local officials in reminding public members residing in flooded regions not to return to their homes until the flooded regions are safe. Also, healthcare nurses need to educate members of the public on how they will hand contaminated water, especially for domestic consumption.
Healthcare nurses can offer guidance to health officers and government officials in New Orleans in developing alternative social facilities such as medical centers. Developing alternative healthcare facilities is essential since hurricanes result in severe physical damage to buildings and health centers are among these buildings. Alternative healthcare facilities include mobile medical centers which public nurses can use to reach out to patients. Vaccine storage and transportation is another key role healthcare nurses need to play so that these vaccines remain safe and effective (Thielmann, Puth & Weltermann, 2020). Through these alternative medical programs, nurses will ensure that there are enough medical essentials for public members.
There are community aggregates that healthcare nurses will need to consider during this recovery phase. These aggregates will call for special planning and they include children, elderly people, pregnant women, and people dwelling in lowlands. Children call for special planning since most of them may not be aware of the adverse effects that may arise from playing around dumpy areas. Also, children, pregnant women, and the elderly are more vulnerable to these communicable diseases arising from a hurricane due to their unstable health immune system. Healthcare nurses will need to guide public members dwelling in lowlands in New Orleans on how they will return to their homes after floods.

Glassey, S. (2018). Did Harvey learn from Katrina? Initial observations of the response to companion animals during Hurricane Harvey. Animals, 8(4), 47.
Klotzbach, P. J., Bowen, S. G., Pielke, R., & Bell, M. (2018). Continental US hurricane landfall frequency and associated damage: Observations and future risks. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 99(7), 1359-1376.
Lee, J., Lee, S. X., & Lim, T. (2019). When It Rains It Pours: A Case of Rhizopus Infection After Hurricane Michael. In D59. FUNGAL INFECTION CASE REPORTS (pp. A6863-A6863). American Thoracic Society.
Li, Z., Jin, C., Hu, P., & Wang, C. (2019). Resilience-based transportation network recovery strategy during emergency recovery phase under uncertainty. Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 188, 503-514.
Thielmann, A., Puth, M. T., & Weltermann, B. (2020). Improving knowledge on vaccine storage management in general practices: Learning effectiveness of an online-based program. Vaccine, 38(47), 7551-7557.

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