Oklahoma Nurses Association

Oklahoma Nurses AssociationIn Oklahoma, nurses have always been willing to help during times of disasters. The goal of the Oklahoma MRC Nurses is to organize the volunteers for effective response and to provide training and safety instruction before disaster strikes.

Nurses, like many other medical professionals have been anxious to offer their services following disaster over the past few years, but there was no way to coordinate that effort.

In the wake of the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City, tornado devastation, and the 9-11 terrorist attacks in New York City, many nurses in Oklahoma have asked how they can help during emergencies.

Nurses in a clinical setting.With the creation of the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps Nurses, sponsored by the Oklahoma Nurses Association, nurses now have the answer. The Oklahoma MRC Nurses organization is coordinating a registry of nurses willing to volunteer in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

This Medical Reserve Corps is the only MRC in the United States based within a professional organization, with a state-wide approach. Nurses represent the largest group of healthcare professionals in the state. However, all the Medical Reserve Corps in Oklahoma are working together to coordinate recruiting, training, and deployment of volunteers.

In the event of a disaster or emergency, volunteer nurses will supplement the manpower of existing organizations.

Volunteers may be asked to:

  • Help with staffing for general population shelters.
  • Staff and provide supplemental care in special needs shelters caring for people not well enough for the general shelters, but who may not be able to go to a hospital.
  • Assist with area, regional, or statewide mass immunization/prophylaxis campaigns reaching susceptible people in times of contagious disease outbreak or bioterrorism attack.
  • Treat victims of terrorism, flooding, tornados or other natural disasters.
  • Supplement hospital personnel.
  • Triage near the disaster/emergency site.

If mass immunization or mass prophylaxis is needed, the health departments across the state will need volunteer nurses to help ensure every Oklahoman receives medication and immunization in a timely manner.

All aspects of an organized response will need additional volunteers to assist with patient care, paper work, phone calls, and public education.

Volunteers for the MRC are now being recruited and identified. Volunteers will indicate their areas of clinical experience and skills, as well as the settings in which they are interested in volunteering. Training and orientation opportunities are being developed to be offered statewide. Training modules will be available online, and in addition, classes will be taught around the state.

We are working with other MRCs in Oklahoma to help coordinate recruiting and deployment of volunteers when needed.

All currently licensed registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing students are encouraged to volunteer. This includes part-time, retired, and full-time employed nurses.

For more information about the Oklahoma Nurses Association go to www.oklahomanurses.org.