Students in the Purdue University North Central Community Health Nursing course recently completed the American Red Cross ReadyRN program which gives them the knowledge and skills necessary for those responding to emergency and crisis situations.
The 50 class members completed the 20 module ReadyRN on-line program, in addition to their usual classroom work. Thanks to the ReadyRN program, these nurses will be able to help in a disaster or public health emergency and are prepared to provide quality health care in times of chaos and distress. The class members will earn their Bachelor’s degrees in Nursing in May. Some already have earned their associate degrees and are employed as nurses.
Last spring 35 PNC students completed the ReadyRN training as well.
Scenarios covered by ReadyRN include natural disasters, disaster triage, biological and chemical terrorism and radiological incidents. They learned disaster management, managing the psychosocial effects of a disaster, handling the unique needs of children, shelter nursing and treating emergencies outside of the hospital.
The goal of the program is to “Make every nurse a prepared nurse.”
Brianna Orris, of Crown Point, said that ReadyRN gave her the confidence that she can now volunteer to help in an emergency. “I’m ready to do it,” she said, noting that her family now has an emergency plan to follow.
“I absolutely would step forward to help,” said Lindsey Sample, of Hanna. She found the training helpful when she took part in a triage drill at Porter Regional Hospital.
“You come to know things so well that they become second nature,” said Brittany Huffman, of LaPorte. “It taught the essentials of handling different situations, how to prepare, where to go and how to be resourceful with supplies.”
Bobbi Petru, LaPorte County Chapter of the American Red Cross community chapter executive, said that she is pleased that the community has 50 additional nurses trained to react to emergencies.
“Having people who can step in and take charge of a situation is invaluable,” said Petru. “It is difficult for the Red Cross to do everything on its own.”
ReadyRN volunteers can volunteer to travel where needed in response to various needs. Petru recounted a number of scenarios where volunteers stepped forward to help. For example, in the wake of Super Storm Sandy local volunteers traveled east. “It was an amazing experience,” she related. “The volunteers helped diabetics without their medication, potential heart attacks and a woman in labor. They knew what to do thanks to their training.”
Closer to home, another ReadyRN became stranded in a snow storm and made her way to a Red Cross shelter. There she found a diabetic who needed help.
“You learn to solve problems with what you have at hand,” said Petru. “Your knowledge gives you the ability to remain calm and help those who need you.”
That was echoed by the PNC students.
Valerie Plummer, of LaPorte, believes she is now better prepared to serve her community. “I am a better-rounded nurse. I know that I can help in a time of need.”
Mark Stringer, of Valparaiso, explained that he feels prepared to handle situations ranging from “a terrorist attack to a flood.” His training also taught him to be resourceful. “I know that I can stop, think and be ready to do what needs to be done.”
The ReadyRN training prepares the nurses for so many situations that the nurses feel prepared to meet the challenges of their profession. “As nurses our priority is safety. In an emergency we can be handling everything from blood pressure to wound care, said Jeremy Rotroff, of Crown Point. “Disasters happen and we’ll be ready.”