As nurses, it is in our nature to want to intervene and “make things better.” Add fundamental medical knowledge and clinical skills to that desire to help and we are the ideal candidates to promptly respond to any emergency situation or mass casualty incident. Right? Not always.

Desire and clinical expertise are not enough when it comes to volunteering during or after a disaster. Preparation is an essential component that cannot be overlooked. If you’ve tried to help in the past but weren’t able, or think you might be interested in being a disaster volunteer in the future, now is the time to look into becoming part of an established disaster response team. Start your research by visiting the websites of organizations such as the National Disaster Medical System, American Red Cross, and Medical Reserve Corps.

Does anyone already belong to any of these groups? Have you been part of disaster relief efforts in the past? What advice can you share with us?

Reference: Adams, L.M. (2010). It’s a Disaster! How can I help? Nursing2011 Critical Care, 6(1).