NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University College of Nursing faculty and students assisted in training colleagues in disaster preparedness by creating a skills fair for public health nurses in northwest Louisiana.
“Whenever disaster strikes in Louisiana, the Office of Public Health is there to help maintain and restore health,” said Anna Morris, assistant professor of nursing. “Their nurses and nurse practitioners, along with others employed at local health units, will be tasked with staffing shelters in the event of hurricanes or other disasters. According to Yolanda Chandler, Regional Nurse Manager, it is important for the nurses to stay up-to-date on their skills because they never know what type of health issues they will find in shelter inhabitants.”
Morris and Lab Coordinator Debbie McInnis created the skills fair in which public health nurses could practice their IV and catheter insertions, wound care and insulin administration.
Senior nursing students Alexandra Collier and Samantha McGee of Haughton, Kali Hodges of Minden, Shawna Longoria of Frierson and Lauren Richardson of Greenwood and Assistant Professor of Nursing Bethany Shirley also helped give demonstrations and short lectures to the 28 nurses. The nurses were from health units in Caddo, Bossier, Webster, Claiborne, Natchitoches, Bienville, Sabine, DeSoto and Red River parishes. After the lectures, the nurses were able to refresh their skills using mannequins with the students as their guides.
“For years, our students have been trained by the Public Health Offices during their community health rotation. It was rewarding for us to be able to return the favor and help update their skills,” Morris said. Dr. Dana Clawson, dean of the College of Nursing, was fully supportive of the endeavor.
“All agreed the event went well, and we will continue to collaborate in the future,” Morris added.