November 17, 2006
Response by Suemede Lawrence to: Be Safe, Be Prepared: Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals in Disaster Response by Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN (Sept. 30, 2006)
Thank you, Ms. Peterson, for the OJIN article, "Be Safe, Be Prepared: Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals in Disaster Response." As a nursing student this article was significant to me in that my pursuit of nursing as a second career stemmed primarily from my realization that providing care to those in need would be the most valuable contribution I could make to society. However, I had never given much thought as to how I could be of help in the event of a disaster situation.
Prior to reading this article I thought that health care professionals just ‘showed-up’ to help during disasters. Your article certainly brought to light so well the fact that disaster situations can be extremely complex and as such require significant expert planning in order to attain the best outcomes. Your explanation of the necessity for advance registration with disaster response organizations and your listing of those important questions one should consider prior to seeking enrollment as a disaster responder were very thought-provoking.
I now realize that a decision to become a registered volunteer in a disaster situation requires very serious evaluation, as it involves not only our professional lives but our personal lives as well. I am still contemplating answers to some of the questions proposed.
State University of New York at Downstate