National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine July-August 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 23

unique in that it addresses the specific needs of nurses before, during, and after their volunteer experience. It also addresses nursing volunteer roles. Both authors have extensive experience volunteering in the United States and overseas. They draw from their own discoveries. They invited nurses from around the globe to share their experience and knowledge. Their individual stories reinforce the statement at the beginning and end of the book that in changing lives, our own life may also be changed. Jeanne Leffers is a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and has volunteered in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Uganda, and Haiti. She has led nursing students abroad. Chapter 6 is a plethora of information for faculty and students. There are two pages outlining diverse types of global nursing students��� experiences. Julia Plotnick has routinely traveled abroad throughout Eastern Europe and Africa following natural and man-made disasters to help governments and local providers. She was in Sudan at the time of the famine, the orphanage situation in Romania, and the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. The chapter on nursing response to disasters attests to her extensive knowledge and offers practical information. Chapter 2 provides tools for self-assessment, helping the reader identify nursing expertise, skills, goals, and needs. Volunteering locally or globally is not for everyone. The selfassessment and resulting self-knowledge is valuable whether the decision is made to volunteer now, later, or not at all. The flow of the following chapters provides information about potential opportunities. There is practical information about travel costs, living arrangements, needed vaccinations, etc. The self-assessment needs can be contrasted with what a particular program would need. It is all about finding the right fit for all concerned to make it a win-win situation. Chapter 7 is a wealth of useful questions and practical information, including packing for the trip, safety and ethical issues, travel insurance, professional and cultural preparation, personal medical kits, etc. To quote the authors, ���The more you learn ahead of time, the less affected you will be by unexpected situations, allowing you to be more effective in your service.��� I wish this book were available when I started volunteering 20 years ago but I am pleased I can recommend it to others who ask about volunteering. I appreciated the chapter on assignments and the sections dealing with respecting the local culture as well as respecting the host setting environment. However, I would have liked the importance J U LY | A U G U S T 2 0 1 2 of the volunteers working together as a cohesive team to be more developed. In my experience doing disaster relief as well as longterm development work, the volunteer team that works well together accomplishes much more on every level. Reverse culture shock is a reality and is addressed in the last chapter. The emotional impact of coming home can be more difficult than the physical return. This insightful chapter looks at adjustments the volunteer needs to make as well as giving suggestions for moving forward and making contributions to the site they left. The various sidebars from volunteers relating their difficulties and how they solved them are helpful. The comments from the nurses relating the benefits of working with the volunteers were heartening. The eight pages of references and the four appendices at the end of the book are an added gift from the authors who are passionate about volunteering and what they have done with their nursing careers; they have empowered others and are continuing this empowerment by offering us this Essential Guide for Nurses. ���Patrice Coolick, RN MENTAL BREAKDOWN (Continued from page 13) from 848 in 2008 to 626 in 2011.�� This year, the state proposed cutting an additional 120 beds from Taunton State Hospital, and wanted to close the entire facility. With an active campaign by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/ NNU, the closure has been blocked for now. During this same period, Massachusetts saw similar cuts to psych and substance abuse beds in the private sector while the state has failed to increase funding for community-based services. Every day in Massachusetts, MNA notes, hospitals are holding many psychiatric patients, sometimes 10 to 20 such patients, and those patients are stuck in the EDs for a day, up to week, waiting for a bed or service to open to treat them.�� In recent weeks, we���ve heard a flurry of reports of mass shootings in which the suspects were all too often described as men with serious psychiatric problems. But there are also stories not making the national headlines, like the case of a 67-year-old man beaten to death with a flower pot outside his Berkeley, Calif. home in February. The suspect: a 23-years-young man said to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia who has been in and out of institutions and whose parents told reporters they have spent years trying to get him more help. Ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial, the young man was ordered to be placed in a state hospital, but a bed was not available. Left untreated while waiting for transfer to somewhere, his parents told the San Francisco Chronicle, he first injured himself, and then broke the jaw of a deputy sheriff. How much longer can we as a society put up with such intolerable abandonment of patients who need mental healthcare, and a healthcare system dedicated to pursuit of private profit rather than public protection, safety, and care? RoseAnn DeMoro is executive director of National Nurses United. W W W. N A T I O N A L N U R S E S U N I T E D . O R G N AT I O N A L N U R S E 23

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of National Nurses United - National Nurse Magazine July-August 2012