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A Historical Challenge: Nurses and Emergencies

Author(s): Kristine M. Gebbie | Kristine A. Qureshi

Journal: Online Journal of Issues in Nursing
ISSN 1091-3734

Volume: 11;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: American Red Cross | disaster response | emergency nursing | military nursing | nursing | Public Health Service

Nurses have been a part of disaster preparedness and response as long as nurses have existed. Although the early nurses who responded to emergencies during historic events may have been something other than the fully educated, licensed, certified, professional nurses as we know them today, their described role is consistent with a modern understanding of nursing: attention to the injured or ill individual; assuring provision of water, food, clean dressings, and bedding; providing relief from pain; and offering a human touch that says "I care." This article reviews the beginning of emergency nursing as a specialty, and the 21st century expectations about nursing during catastrophic events. Included are brief discussions of various nursing roles related to emergency care.
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