I find it hard to separate the natural versus manmade disaster given inconvenient reality of more frequent disasters with more intensity and scope caused by man-made climate change. Sure, we’ve always had extreme weather events. But they are getting more unpredictable, more frequent, more intense, and devastating than ever before because of human activity.
Spiritual care in the face of one of these disasters may become acutely needed. While not everyone has adopted religion or subscribes to a particular faith, chaplains are trained to provide psychosocial support when needed to help communities cope with emotional needs following a disaster event (GCU, 2018). Nurses may recognize a readiness for patients to receive psychosocial and spiritual support that a chaplain can provide, even if the patient does not expressly ask for one.
Culture plays a role in the response and reaction people may display following a disaster, and the PHN should be aware of the existence of these differences and incorporate them into the nursing process when planning for care. Responses may vary widely or even seem strange to an onlooker such as a nurse, but its cultural and trauma-informed to put those preconceptions aside and meet the individual where they are in processing the disaster.
Chaplains can also help tend to the spiritual and psychosocial needs of the first responders and disaster relief teams, including nurses. Taking care of one’s own mental and spiritual well-being before helping others is an important aspect of helping during a disaster.