We find ourselves in a global context of environmental crisis where pollution has become one of the main causes of disease and is responsible for millions of deaths annually. In 2019, for example, pollution was responsible for one in six deaths worldwide.

Added to the contamination are natural disasters, which are increasingly frequent and intense, leaving in their wake injured, dead and an environment conducive to the spread of vector-borne diseases. As data, it is estimated that during this century eleven million people died as a result of natural disasters.

Undoubtedly, new pandemics are also emerging from this environmental crisis, an evil that has apparently become part of our daily lives. This totally impacts some sectors, one of them undoubtedly is health, and the various professionals must be prepared. The role of the nursing assistant in the health sector is the key to dealing with it.

The role of nursing in natural disasters

A natural disaster is a latent danger represented by the possible occurrence of a dangerous phenomenon, of natural origin, or caused by man (as in the case of fires or spills of toxic substances) capable of producing adverse effects on people, property, public services. and the environment.

The goal of nursing in the face of a natural disaster is to ensure that affected people receive the highest quality care possible through active participation at all stages of the disaster cycle.

This cycle is divided into different phases, in which planning to face disasters includes technical-operational aspects and, in addition, the ability to assess the level of risk until the consequences are rehabilitated.

Regarding the application of a contingency plan, activities must be carried out on a continuous and comprehensive basis. For its organization, management, control and evaluation, the participation of the nursing team is important, which must be very clear about their professional role in the face of a natural disaster and, thus, be able to successfully fulfill their task.

From an environmental point of view, you will have to be aware of five main needs:

  • Provide basic amounts of drinking water.
  • Offer accommodation and shelter.
  • Protect water and food from contamination.
  • Observance of basic rules of personal hygiene.
  • Protection against vector-borne diseases.

For all that has been said, and given the increase and intensity of the frequency of fires, droughts, floods, eruptions, tsunamis and other catastrophes, it is necessary for nursing staff to be updated in terms of their training.

To do so, you can go to the different vocational training centers on the subject, where you can diplomas for nursing assistantupdates and other related courses.

The role of nursing in the face of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Hospitals around the world were overwhelmed by this pandemic, with a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), structural and budgetary problems, making it an unprecedented scenario for the health sector.

The pressure on healthcare professionals has therefore increased considerably, in addition to the risk of contagion, physical and emotional stress. Therefore, nursing as a fundamental part of the multiprofessional health team was one of the most affected.

The pandemic scenario could repeat itself in the future and they must be prepared. It is the nursing assistants, together with the nurses, who are in direct contact with patients with suspected and/or confirmed viruses and guide the population to follow the measures relevant to each case. While they remain at the forefront of these issues, they put their lives and the lives of their loved ones at risk.

Nursing training in extraordinary cases such as the pandemic

Therefore, ongoing training is necessary in the health sector in general and in nursing in particular in multiple aspects. Currently it is possible to have this training, even at a distance, to facilitate study during work.

Nurses and their assistants are the ones who deal directly with patients and their families who are bothered by the uncertainty of a diagnosis or treatment. They then must have the ability to provide psychological support and, at the same time, be able to manage their own anxiety so they don’t fall into depressive states or stress.

They must be informed and trained on the new protocols and actions that arise from extraordinary situations such as the pandemic. They must have new knowledge both for their personal protection – with the responsibility of self-assessing the possibility of infection – and for patients and family members.

In addition, nurses and aides have to become aware of the management of new equipment and devices that respond to the treatments needed to treat new diseases such as COVID-19.


In order to rise to the occasion and advance in their field of work, these professionals have the possibility to obtain diplomas of nursing assistants in official and specialized institutes in the health sector.

But something even more important is prevention: taking care of planetary health is also taking care of our health.


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