Extant literature demonstrates that a foremost challenge for community health practitioners in assisting people to recover from crises involves the setting up of deliverable goals (Maurer & Smith, 2009). The presented case scenario depicts a situation whereby the community nurse must develop a priority recovery goal to assist community members recover from the effects of uncontrollable wild fires. In this scenario, the most desirable priority recovery goal is to develop frameworks aimed at stabilizing the community and reducing incidences of trauma that may arise as a direct consequence of the wild fires.
To reach this goal, the community nurse must initiate the first step of defining and understanding the crisis from the perspective of community members. Understanding the crisis from the point of view of the affected members will assist the nurse in not only encouraging free expression of feelings and the acceptance of these feelings, but also in promoting stabilization and the development of cordial relationships. The second step entails ensuring the safety of community members by undertaking an assessment of the severity of the wild fires and the victims’ emotional status. Afterwards, the community nurse should engage in providing support and empowerment to the affected members of the population. The fourth step entails examining available alternatives within the crisis environment to come up with an alternative which will be acceptable to the affected members. Lastly, the community nurse should engage in the development of a plan which will be used to implement the alternative (Lester, 2011; Rebmann et al., 2008).
Psychosocial Assessment & Crisis Intervention
A psychosocial assessment is a fundamental constituent of holistic nursing care that not only evaluates a patient’s mental health, but also their physical and emotional well-being (Rebmann et al., 2008). In the case scenario, victims that are more likely to need crisis intervention should demonstrate elevated levels of stress and trauma in their psychosocial assessment scores, perhaps due to loss of loved ones or property in the wild fires. Injured victims and emotionally unstable members of the community should also be exposed to the crisis intervention program.
Major Health Concerns
Victims of natural or man-made crises the world over are likely to experience trauma, stress and depression, leading to a situation whereby they are unable to function as they normally would due to the development of maladaptive and undesirable behavior patterns (Maurer & Smith, 2009). Consequently, the major health concerns that the community nurse should seek to address as a result of the wild fires in the community include trauma, stress and depressive episodes. Additionally, mental health concerns may surface due to wanton destruction of property and probable loss of life. Lastly, communicable and infectious diseases may be on the increase in the area due to the destruction of the environment and the ecosystem.
The community nurse can improve these concerns by exposing the victims to routine counseling sessions aimed at strengthening their coping strategies and assuring them that the future is still bright despite the setback. The nurse can also design and execute social support groups to take care of the emotional needs of victims. Indeed, victims can use such social support groups to ventilate their concerns and fears, and also to seek for assistance in coping with the consequences of the wild fires. Additionally, the community nurse can take the initiative to arrange for medical professionals and supplies to deal with disease outbreaks (Maurer & Smith, 2009; Rebmann et al., 2008). In all these efforts, the community nurse should be guided by the goal of developing frameworks aimed at stabilizing the community and reducing incidences of trauma that may arise as a direct consequence of the wild fires.
Lester, N. (2011). Keeping calm and carrying on. Mental Health Practice, 15(3), 19-19.
Maurer, F.A., & Smith, C.M. (2009). Community/public health nursing practice: Health for families and populations (5th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Saunders Elsevier.
Rebmann, T., Carrico, R., & English, J.F. (2008). Lessons public health professionals learned from past disasters. Public Health Nursing, 25(4), 344-352.