Improving international academic and professional collaboration for nurses in prehospital and disaster setting

Author(s): George W Contreras

According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses (RN) are the largest healthcare workforce. Nurses therefore play an important role in providing healthcare and specifically during disasters. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provides pre-hospital care to the public during emergencies. The delivery of EMS, however, varies greatly all over the world. In Spain, for example, there are no paramedics in EMS. Advanced life support is provided by a team of physicians, nurses and emergency medical technicians. In the United States, nurses do not provide emergency prehospital care setting. Due to the role nurses play in the Spanish EMS system, there was great interest from the nursing students and professionals to learn more how the role of paramedics operate. Specifically, nurses wanted to see how EMS functions and how the paramedic competencies compare to what nurses do in Spain. Therefore, the author designed and piloted a program in which nurses can spend time in New York City to see how EMS operates. The nurses were able to ride on basic and advanced life support ambulances in the New York City 911 system for a month. The nurses also participated in rotations in the adult and pediatric emergency departments. The nurses also participated in disaster management lectures and drills at the hospital. The author will share the process of creating and implementing this educational opportunity for nurses and will discuss feedback from several participants. Such educational opportunities should be duplicated in other cities and countries in order to allow healthcare professionals to enhance their knowledge and experiences in order to improve patient care and outcomes. Academic and industry stakeholders need to take specific measures to collaborate in order to better prepare nurses all over the world.