It is our goal for humanitarian nursing to be considered a nursing specialty. Humanitarian nursing is unlike any other kind of nursing. Out on mission, nurses are often be the only experienced care provider and are called on to wear multiple hats - nurse, doctor, pharmacist, lab tech, administrator, social worker, logistician, housekeeper, etc. Humanitarian nursing can not be taken lightly as lives are often at stake. Many American nurses are aghast at the differences in health care in the third world compared to the relative ease of access and multitude of treatment options we are accustomed to. It is imperative for the humanitarian nurse to have knowledge of the endemic diseases to the areas they are traveling. Most of these diseases have been eradicated in the US or are very rarely seen in an industrialized nation. Treatment of these diseases is very specific and should be verified by the World Health Organization (WHO), Ministry of Health (MIH) or other larger humanitarian organizations that have treatment plans in effect.
We at One Nurse At A Time (ONAAT) now have free educational modules on our website where nurses can read and learn about cholera, malaria, malnutrition and measles. Sue Averill, RN and co-founder of ONAAT has also written a introduction into volunteer nursing called "Humanitarian Nursing 101". Future additions to this site include surgical nursing, maternal/child nursing and others. If you have experience in either of these fields or would like to submit your own educational module, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would appreciate your comments and feedback.
Remember, we are making a difference ONE NURSE AT A TIME!