Nurses Brace Themselves for The Great Eclipse of 2017
By Nurse.org Staff Writer
Months before the great solar eclipse of 2017, hospitals around the country were bracing themselves. In fact, according to the Washington Post, “first responders and emergency managers say preparing for the solar eclipse is unlike any challenge they’ve faced.”
Medical centers in the cities along the path were prepping at disaster-level scale. Why? Because the huge influx of eclipse watchers to the 70-mile wide strip that will experience total darkness puts a huge strain on local resources including emergency services and hospitals.
This includes tourists crowding into campgrounds which could lead to accidents and wildfires. Also, drivers tempted to look up during the eclipse may endanger themselves in the way of burned retinas and car accidents.
On the other hand, the eclipse has become quite lucrative for some travel nurses. Cities have been scrambling to bring in enough nurses to accommodate the anticipated need for emergency medical care. One agency in Oregon has been offering travel nurses $90/hr for 3-week assignments just for eclipse activity. This is on par with the crisis pay rate offered to nurses covering strikes and natural disasters.
Yet surprisingly, some hospitals are finding their units to be oddly unaffected.
“Whenever there’s a full moon, our patients get agitated and it becomes a zoo here,” said one psych nurse at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center. “It’s a little unexpected. Our unit has been quite calm. Since it faces west, our patients won’t even be able to see it. You’d think the reaction would be more severe than a full moon, but we’re finding that’s just not the case.”
Hopefully, hospitals across the country will find themselves equally unaffected.
The Path of the Eclipse
A total eclipse will be viewable from 9 different states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. Partial eclipses will be viewable from neighboring states.