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Go Above and Beyond as a Disaster Relief Nurse

Go Above and Beyond as a Disaster Relief Nurse

Disaster relief nursing allows licensed nurses to utilize their medical skills in the event of a disaster. For days, or even weeks, at a time, nurses help to care for the victims of disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, attacks like The World Trade Center bombing and 9/11, and the recent Midwest floods. Volunteer service is exhausting, rewarding, and potentially dangerous. For those up to the challenge, disaster relief nursing can be one of the best experiences of your career.

What is Disaster Relief Nursing?

Disaster relief nursing involves traveling to areas affected by adverse weather, hurricanes, tsunamis, fire and terrorist attacks in order to medically serve the area’s victims. Nurses are needed to care for victims, but they may also be asked to help in other areas such as acting as a youth team leader or health and safety instructor.

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Disaster relief nursing is unique because it involves all the skills of a traditional nurse as well as training specific to disasters – such as large group dynamics, managing shock and panic, and shelter mobilization. “Disaster often introduce some unique health and emergency needs, so having trained personnel is key. Combining the skills that nurses possess with those gained from disaster training expands the network of people who can provide appropriate care during a disaster,” says American Red Cross chief nurse, Nancy McKelvey.


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