Free Essay On Crisis
While in general, a crisis is any event that causes the need for urgent attention, when specifically applied to health care, a crisis can fall into one of many categories. There can be disease outbreak crises, a code crisis, a treatment or medication shortage crisis, or a natural or man-made disaster crisis. These are just a few of the categories of crises that health care workers face on a daily bases. Each type of crisis has a specific warranted plan, training, and response. The core of being an effective crisis worker in a health care setting is adequate preparation, initial and ongoing training, and successfully responding to any type of medical or other crisis situation.
Depending upon the level of certification of a health care worker (physician, nurse, practitioner, first responder, etc.), different preparedness and training are needed. Some important steps in handling a crisis situation are first, developing an alliance; next, gathering information; and finally, solving problems (Psychiatric skills, n.d.). Developing an alliance with a patient or a person or persons in crisis is crucial because a patient will not cooperate with a health care worker in a non-critical setting, let alone a crisis setting, if he or she does not trust that that the health care worker is there to help and has the capability and skills to do so. Additionally, gathering information about an impending or ongoing crisis is imperative because a crisis cannot be averted or controlled if information regarding the nature of the crisis is not readily available. Often, heath care workers will need to assess and determine the nature of the crisis is a very short period of time, so sharp critical evaluation skills are necessary. Finally, solving problems is at the core of averting or controlling a crisis. Again, the critical evaluation skills come into play here. Determining what to do in each specific and different crisis situation is expected of every health care worker regardless of certification, preparation, training, or critical thinking skills.
Health care workers are often looked upon as natural leaders in a crisis. Some of the characteristics that are important to either formal or informal health care leaders in a crisis situation are being visible, staying calm, facing reality with compassion, being decisive and thoughtful, being communicative, and conveying hope (Sherman, 2013). Crises can be quick or ongoing. In either case, being present at the crisis or in the crisis to offer leadership is important, as is remaining centered and focused while there. Patients will look to health care workers in a crisis who are steady, reassuring, calm, and in control. Additionally, “it is important not to minimize what is happening during a crisis. Leaders need to admit that a crisis is occurring yet remain empathetic to anxieties being felt by those who lead” (Sherman, 2013, n.p.). A willingness to make either carefully thought out or split-second decisions is another characteristic that a health care worker should show in a crisis. This is where planning and training come into play. The preparedness for crisis situations and the plans developed for response should become routine or autonomic if practiced appropriately. This way, decisions are based on instinct and experience rather than grasping at straws for a way to solve a problem. Communicating hope and communicating information are two more important characteristics for a health care worker to display in the face of a crisis. Often, peoples’ anxieties can be reduced if they have the information they need to make decisions regarding the crisis. Withholding important information is not helpful in a crisis situation.
Overall, a crisis of any category warrants the need for planning, preparation, and practice. Health care workers need to ensure that they have the knowledge, the tools, and the skills to not just function in a crisis situation, but to be a leader to patients and others.
Psychiatric skills for non-psych nurses. (n.d.). Nurses Learning. Retrieved from http://www.nurseslearning.com/courses/nrp/NRP-1617/Section4/index.htm
Sherman, R. O. (2013). Leading in a crisis situation. Emerging RN Leader. Retrieved from http://www.emergingrnleader.com/emergingnurseleader-15/