Hiking and Backpacking

Outdoor Medical & Nursing Guide

Within the hospital environment or at any doctor's practice, nurses are responsible for patients' basic needs, as well as many highly complex procedures and services.

While doctors may make final diagnoses and oversee the overall course of treatment, patients typically rely on their nurses for day-to-day and minute-to-minute care. Once you step outside the secure environment of a medical practice, and especially when heading into the wilderness, you will need to take on a nurse's responsibilities yourself.

"The Great Outdoors" offers great joys, as well as one great challenge: the need to be your own caregiver. When trekking through wilderness, if you or anyone in your party sustains an injury or becomes ill, you will need to determine the best way to nurse that person back to health. As with any emergency situation, the best means of response relies on careful advance preparation.

Before you head out on your next wilderness adventure, spend some time reviewing wilderness first aid and nursing practices. Numerous online resources can help you prepare, whether you're a complete newcomer to healthcare or an experienced medical professional.

Wilderness Medical Resources & First Aid

When you head into the wilderness and leave civilization behind, you can appreciate the freedom of fresh air and wide-open spaces. But you also take on a great responsibility: your own safety and well-being.

While spending time in secluded places, it's more important than ever to understand the basics of first aid. Whether you're a nursing student, a scout, or just a hiking enthusiast, it's your responsibility to familiarize yourself with some medical know-how before you hit the trails. A little bit of knowledge and preparation can go a long way.

Luckily, many online resources offer authoritative introductory guides to wilderness first aid and relevant medical information. Reading up on the subject from reputable websites makes an excellent first step.

To truly prepare yourself for wilderness trekking, though, it's advisable to enroll in a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course. In a relatively short time, these courses can prepare anyone to respond to emergency situations.

When you take the course, you will learn to deal with various kinds of wounds, extreme temperatures, common allergies and medical issues, and various emergency wilderness scenarios. Typically, these courses are aimed at the general public and require little to no prior knowledge.

Nursing Resources

For nurses and nursing science students, the Internet offer a host of informative resources related to all aspects of nursing care. Whether you're looking for resources related to a particular niche or more general advice, chances are you can find what you're looking for online.

One of the best places to start online research is with professional nursing organizations, many of which operate at a nationwide level. These organizations maintain large websites with lengthy "resources and links" pages.

Likewise, many of the larger associations publish regular newsletters or periodicals, which can serve as a major resource to address recurring questions and to cover current issues in the world of nursing. Nursing school websites and university library websites are another excellent resource for students and nurses. Often, these well-funded centers maintain well-organized and regularly updated resource databases just for nurses.

In some cases, certain materials may be restricted to currently enrolled students. However, most sites also maintain a collection of informative resources for the general public. Themes may range from industry changes to professional concerns to "refresher" handbooks on specific medical topics.

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