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Being Both Helpers and Victims: Health Professionals' Experiences of Working During a Natural Disaster

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare K. Hugelius
A. Adolfsson
Per Örtenwall
M. Gifford
Publicerad i Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Volym 32
Nummer/häfte 2
Sidor 117-123
ISSN 1049-023X
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper
Sidor 117-123
Språk English Zarus rs , 1993 , psychosomatic medicine , v55 , p234
Länkar 10.1017/s1049023x16001412
Ämnesord disaster medicine, disasters, health professionals, phenomenological hermeneutic method, relief, recommendations, conservation, earthquake, resources, stress, impact, lkman s, 1984, journal of personality and social psychology, v46, p839
Ämneskategorier Allmän medicin

Sammanfattning

Background In November 2013, the Haiyan typhoon hit parts of the Philippines. The typhoon caused severe damage to the medical facilities and many injuries and deaths. Health professionals have a crucial role in the immediate disaster response system, but knowledge of their experiences of working during and in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster is limited. Aim The aim of this study was to explore health professionals' experiences of working during and in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. Method Eight health professionals were interviewed five months after the disaster. The interviews were analyzed using phenomenological hermeneutic methods. Results The main theme, being professional and survivor, described both positive and negative emotions and experiences from being both a helper, as part of the responding organization, and a victim, as part of the surviving but severely affected community. Sub-themes described feelings of strength and confidence, feelings of adjustment and acceptance, feelings of satisfaction, feelings of powerless and fear, feelings of guilt and shame, and feelings of loneliness. Conclusion Being a health professional during a natural disaster was a multi-faceted, powerful, and ambiguous experience of being part of the response system at the same time as being a survivor of the disaster. Personal values and altruistic motives as well as social aspects and stress-coping strategies to reach a balance between acceptance and control were important elements of the experience. Based on these findings, implications for disaster training and response strategies are suggested.

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