orm_february-2024 - 27

Staffing
ing state, local, tribal, and territorial
emergency responders, can be a good
place to start. Curricula include a host
of simulations and special coursework
covering triage of injuries, use of electronic
health records (EHR), setup and
takedown of med-surg tents and treatment
areas, and practice with medical
devices such as defibrillators, glucometers,
IV pumps, and lstat machines.
" CDP offers many training courses on
disaster response that are free for attendees,
and expenses including airfare,
housing, and food are covered by
the US government, " she adds.
Another
resource is
the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention,
which maintains and
updates a link-rich website
for travelers' needs
for 244 world destinations,
with recommenan
important consideration because
most humanitarian organizations require
volunteers to pay their own way,
Van Dusen adds. " It is beneficial if
nurses know someone or have access
to a seasoned responder who can answer
questions and mentor those new
to deployment. "
Paperwork is to be expected as well.
How much depends on the organization
in question, as well as a nurse's qualifications
and experience. Perry, who
was inspired to volunteer in Honduras
after interviewing a physician for the
First Case podcast, says the process
of applying for the One World Surgery
deployment was " very simple " -that is,
for those trained in surgical areas.
Filippo Gatti
dations for each nation ranging from
local clinics offering vaccines to packing
advice. Yet another is The International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
a Switzerland-based organization that
has been working with foreign deployed
nurses (its own and others) for decades
and publishes a wealth of information
online. " In some cases, nurses already
have masters' studies in disaster management,
humanitarian health, and
working in challenged environments, "
says ICRC head nurse Filippo Gatti.
Military nurses also tend to have
well-rounded expertise, ranging from
sterile processing to circulating to postanesthesia
care and surgical supply
management. An OR nurse might provide
care throughout the entire surgical
experience. " Military perioperative
nurses operate primarily as circulators,
but, with little notice, they may have
to scrub a surgical procedure, sterilize
an instrument set, or triage a patient, "
Graves says. " Interventions range from
damage control surgery to pediatric tonsillectomies. "
Outside
the military, expense is also
www.ormanager.com
Leadership, lasting impression
Whatever the locale and their specialty
or qualifications, nurses can generally
expect to be part of some form of an
incident command system. This might
mean working under the direction of a
nurse leader or being asked to assume
that role.
Teams generally are not chosen in
advance, whether for military or nonmilitary
deployments. In the ICRC, " they
are assigned to a mission and find their
team there, either as RNs or in nurse
leader roles, " Gatti says. As to tandem
working scenarios, " They work normally
in a team with other expatriates with
different background experiences, and
with resident/local nurse colleagues. "
In the US Air Force, qualifying candidates
for special operations surgical
teams apply and train for missions together,
Graves says. However, he adds,
" ground surgical teams or expeditionary
medical support/tent hospital situations
may be pieced together from
multiple readiness programs from different
bases. " And in the Navy, he says,
" deployment assignments are made by
operational planning personnel independent
of local hospital leadership, " but
local staff can make recommendations.
Whatever their role, nurse leaders
also should be prepared to act as leaders
and mentors to local staff. In the
ICRC, training and coaching are normally
done " in-person and hands-on, "
Gatti says, adding that these efforts are
often complemented by online, peer-topeer
support from a regional OR nurse
specialist. " Nurses who are willing to
undertake humanitarian work need to
be great team workers and problem
solvers, " he says, citing the importance
of flexibility and adaptability in these
situations. In addition to team building
responsibilities, nurse leaders should
be prepared to provide quality assurance,
including collecting statistics on
key indicators such as bed occupancy
and mortality rate.
Deployed nurses' training and leadership
often results in improving the
standard of care in the host nation. As
an example, Graves cites an Air Force
program to educate Afghan physicians
regarding sterile technique, wound care,
nutrition, and more. The wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan also drove significant
advances in trauma and surgical procedures
generally. " Many military medical
providers, including nurses, published
the results of their work in peerreviewed
journals, presented at conferences,
and authored texts, " he says.
The military also takes steps to ensure
lessons often last beyond a single
deployment. " The military uses a portable
EHR to rapidly share information between
forward deployed locations, and
it provides a permanent patient record, "
Graves says. " Some locations have secure
messaging. The Department of
Defense creates regular touch points to
share innovative practices. For example,
the Joint Trauma Systems Care Conference
meets weekly to discuss real-world
lessons learned such as walking blood
banks. " ORM
-David C. Walsh is proprietor of
pixwords.com and a onetime US Air
Force medic.
OR Manager | February 2024 27
https://www.pixwords.com http://www.ormanager.com

orm_february-2024

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