Bioterrorism in Nursing

Bioterrorism is the premeditated utilization of destructive organic matters or germs to cause the rife of illness and fear among the civilians as well as to the people who are in the medicine field. Its substance is easily spread to a person that once contaminated, can cause instantaneous death to a person. This substance which may come in the form of smallpox, botulism, plague or anthrax and is different from chemical, nuclear or radiation attack wherein its effects is evident as the outcome and result of the attack can be easily seen through the surrounding environment (Davis, Howell, Latourrette, and Mosher, 2003).

Bioterrorism on the other hands has the tendency to be recognized later than expected that once discovered might have done huge damage over the body making it too late for them to save their life. This is a biological weapons and is deemed as a threat of use on biological agents by individuals or groups motivated by political, religious, ecological, social or for other ideological objectives to instill fear or cause illness or death in order to achieve their objective.

This means of instilling fear to people is not something new as it has been used even during the olden times. The issue of bioterrorism has not only affected and inflicted fear among the civilians wherein everyone doesn’t have any idea as to when they will attacked. Since this is a terrorist activity, choosing the victims is not an option in fact, whoever who was unfortunate to be targeted by the terrorists would surely fall into their hands and meet that dark fate.

The effects of bioterrorism also has also been faced by the nurses and health workers wherein part of their job is to do any means to help treat the victim without at the same time contaminating their own selves thus putting their life in the line. Measures have been made, in cases bioterrorism attacks happen again. It is an effort and a strategy to make people be prepared and to know the safety measures and maintain precaution. Addressing the role individuals can play in preparing for and responding to terrorist attacks has benefits on two levels (Brower and Chalk, 2003).

On one level, an act of terrorism will result in an emergency situation and, as with any sort of emergency event, there are a number of preparatory and response activities that individuals can engage in to help protect their safety and health. On another level, because ordinary citizens are a primary target of terrorism, being informed, prepared, and ready to respond is likely to provide an individual with a sense of empowerment and confidence to combat the feelings of violation and despair that are the aims of terrorism.

Moreover, if terrorists believe that they are less likely to be successful because of individual preparedness, then that preparedness could also serve to deflect terrorists from attacks. As often is the case with new threats, the scope of the dangers posed by terrorism is very difficult to assess. Although one can assign various probabilities to the possibility that the nation will be subject to a major act of biological terrorism, these probabilities are based largely on speculation.

Moreover, the scope of the threat varies immensely according to which agents are expected to be used (e. g. , how infectious they are), how proficiently they are produced (e. g. , if they have been modified to resist treatment, are two or more agents combined, or are they newly designed “super bugs”) how easy they are to deliver and spread, how difficult they are to detect, and so on (Davis, Howell, Latourrette, and Mosher, 2003). In proceeding, it is crucial to realize that both the probability of an attack and the magnitude of its potential severity must be considered.

Even if it were somehow reliably known that the probability of a bioterrorist attack was very low, the negative outcome of such an attack could be very great: attackers could use agents that are very infectious, easy to spread, difficult to detect, modified to prevent treatment, and might result in high fatality rates. Because of this potentially disastrous consequence, one must conclude that we face a clear and present danger (Brower and Chalk, 2003). Nurses of these days were made sure to be aware of the current issue so as to make them well prepared in case that this event might break out again.

It is a biodefense wherein health professionals were trained and educated on the issue at hand and give them the suitable knowledge on what to do and come up with counter attack in such cases. Methods have been explored by researchers wherein health professionals may utilize such process to appraise infections, classify biomarkers for particular substance and chemicals and expound its effects. This is an advantage for nurses too who would likely be confronted in such situations as majority of them worked in hospitals (Etzioni, 2004).

Nurses are well-acquainted to the various reaction to trauma, relationship on stress, sleep and health, and the physiological, immunological and psychosocial changes that takes place with posttraumatic stress syndrome. Nurses were also trained to assess the preparation and response capabilities of hospital sand public health facilities and the competence to make out the apposite skills for nurses and other members of interdisciplinary health teams and paving way to the education of nurses about mass casualty incidents in harnessing their emergency response.

Strategies involves actions that individuals can take that can save lives, even in catastrophic terrorist attacks can be demonstrated by tracing the recommended actions back to the terrorist attack scenarios and seeing how they respond effectively to an individual’s needs for safety and health. Protection can be achieved against chemical agents, dirty bombs, and nuclear fallout (Davis, Howell, Latourrette, and Mosher, 2003). Once a biological attack has been identified, medical treatment can help prevent smallpox and anthrax infections.

Even in the most challenging situations of nuclear and indoor chemical attacks, individuals can avoid the dangers, if they act quickly. Terrorist attacks and the accompanying uncertainties can be expected to evoke intense emotional and behavioral responses on the part of individuals (Dando, 2002). Knowing that individuals can act to save lives and knowing what to do has the additional advantage of making it easier and potentially more likely that individuals will be able to cope in such catastrophic situations.

The individual’s strategy is sensitive to potential variations in how terrorist attacks might unfold. This is by design because the response actions are derived from scenarios representative of each of the types of attacks and were chosen because of their effectiveness, even when the underlying assumptions in the scenarios change (e. g. , warning time). At the same time, we recognize that the response actions may not be ideal for every possibility and every kind of potential attack.

Many uncertainties surround what terrorists will be able and willing to do, as well as their adaptability to changing circumstances. Nevertheless, the alternative of not providing individuals with a strategy with specific actions is much less attractive. Without such guidance, individuals would be required to decide what to do when an attack occurs, with the associated risks of acting in far more dangerous ways. What individuals need to do to survive has little to do with the extent of the effects but rather with the dangers that arise to their own personal safety and health (Brower and Chalk, 2003).

Thus, the individual’s strategy is not based on the scale of potential attacks, and in presenting the strategy; no mention is made about the likely number of casualties in the different types of attacks. By exhaustively analyzing the effects of various terrorist scenarios, it is discovered that individuals would have only a few primary needs rather than the multiplicity that might be expected in such catastrophic situations. These primary needs are captured in the individual’s strategy in terms of the overarching goals that an individual would seek in each type of attack.

Such a small number of key responses make it easy for individuals to remember. Keeping these overarching goals in mind helps individuals understand the reasoning behind the strategy’s specific response actions and also allows an individual to adapt to the circumstances as they may actually arise at the time of an attack. Acting simply on the basis of these goals would improve an individual’s chances of survival. By understanding the effects of the scenarios, it is then possible to discover what factors are most critical to an individual’s ability to achieve these over-arching goals.

For chemical and radiological attacks, the critical factors are whether the release is inside a building or outdoors and where an individual is in relation to that release. In nuclear attacks, the critical factors are where the radioactive fallout cloud spreads and whether an individual can move out of this area before it becomes contaminated. The critical factors in biological attacks involve whether the agent is or is not contagious and whether an individual has been exposed or infected (Davis, Howell, Latourrette, and Mosher, 2003).

Success in implementing the individual’s strategy will depend critically on individuals having advance knowledge about the characteristics of terrorist attacks and the appropriate response actions. This is especially the case for those attacks (chemical, radiological, nuclear) where individuals will need to act on their own quickly without official guidance. Beyond having an advance understanding of what to do in the event of a terrorist attack, the individual’s strategy includes additional preparatory steps.

Because these have been derived from the response actions, the strategy can ensure that an individual focuses on those critical for terrorist attacks. Gathering information and making plans are by far the most important preparatory steps (e. g. , creating a family communication plan, learning about the evacuation plans in buildings one occupies frequently). At the same time, these preparatory steps are not absolutely essential to the success of the individual’s strategy. It is also the case that the response actions for the most part do not require any advance training or practice.

All these involve actions that individuals can take that can be effective in saving lives, even in catastrophic terrorist attacks. These actions differ in important ways from how individuals should prepare for natural and other types of disasters. They are appropriate regardless of the likelihood of an attack or whatever the government alert level might be. They are designed to be sensitive to potential variations in how such attacks might unfold but are presented in ways to prepare individuals for surprises (Brower and Chalk, 2003).

One important advantage of these approach to defining an individual’s strategy is that it can be used now to focus on how groups of individuals in special situations, such as the elderly, sick, and disabled, should prepare for catastrophic terrorism. In some cases, these individuals could be at an advantage (e. g. , those in nursing homes will already be inside in the event of outdoor chemical or radiological attacks). However, they would be at a clear disadvantage in situations in which they needed to move quickly, such as in an indoor chemical attack or a nuclear attack.

Given the uncertainties surrounding terrorist threats, our approach could also be used to update the strategy as the characteristics of the threat evolve. New and different scenarios could be examined and our recommended strategy evaluated to assess its continuing relevance in such new environments. In addition, actions that today are not available to individuals could be evaluated as new technologies or medical treatments become available (e. g. , new types of air-filtering systems or vaccines). With the development of detection systems, individuals might gain more effective ways to respond.

These could be evaluated using our process and criteria. Finally, should attacks occur in the future, lessons could be learned about the actual effects, individual needs, and utility of various response actions, and these could be introduced into our analysis to see whether any changes should be made. Bibliography: Brower, J. and Chalk, P. 2003. The Global Threat of New and Reemerging Infectious Diseases: Reconciling U. S. National Security and Public Health Policy. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Dando, M. 2002. Preventing Biological Warfare: The Failure of American Leadership. New York: Palgrave Davis, L.

, Howell, D. , Latourrette, T. and Mosher, D. 2003. Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Etzioni, A. 2004. How Patriotic is the Patriot Act? Freedom versus Security in the Age of Terrorism. New York: Routledge International Council of Nurses. 2007. Terrorism and Bioterrorism: Nursing Preparedness. Retrieved 24 July 2007, from http://www. icn. ch/matters_bio. htm Inglesby, T. and O’Toole, T. 2007. Medical Aspects of Biological Terrorism. Retrieved 24 July 2007, from http://www. acponline. org/bioterro/medicalaspects. htm

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