Trauma Nursing in Vacation Cities

surfer loses balance and falls


A vacationer speeds along the water on a Jet Ski and crashes. The accident lands the rider in the emergency room (ER) with a life-threatening spinal cord injury. To make matters worse, the vacationer is battling that injury in a drastically different, unfamiliar city.

When accidents happen far from home, a trauma nurse works to ensure that patients receive the highest-quality care. Trauma nurses work in emergency care facilities, treating injuries that may lead to death or disability. Trauma nursing in vacation cities involves caring for critical injuries in settings that center on catering to tourists from diverse backgrounds.

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program that focuses on the needs of ill or injured tourists as well as diverse patient populations can give trauma nurses a distinct advantage when working in vacation cities.

Potential of Critical Injuries for Vacationers

In a study on tourist safety by the National Council for Home Safety and Security (NCHSS), the U.S. ranks among the top 20 out of 164 nations. RoadSnacks, which gathers information about places to live, ranks Hawai‘i No. 18 out of the 50 U.S. states for safety.

Vacationers frequently engage in risky activities. The following are situations that can put tourists with critical injuries in the ER:

  • Air travel. A potentially life-threatening health issue associated with long flights is blood clots that can travel to the lungs.
  • Alcohol use. Vacationers are often at risk of serious injury related to alcohol use. Excessive drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning or dangerous behavior that lead to accidents. Criminals may also target tourists, spiking their drinks with sedatives.
  • People are more vulnerable when in unfamiliar surroundings, meaning tourists could be at risk of assault. An assault may occur when people are aboard cruise ships, for example, and it can cause serious injury, such as deep wounds or loss of vision.
  • Driver inattention, bad weather, and excessive speed are among the frequent causes of boating accidents, according to Statista. These incidents can lead to outcomes such as explosions that cause serious burns or collisions that cause spinal injuries.
  • Situations that can lead tourists to fall and hurt themselves include slipping on a wet surface at a pool, losing control while skiing, or navigating an unfamiliar hotel room in the dark. These occurrences can lead to injuries ranging from broken bones to head injuries.
  • Diving injuries and near drowning are among the risks when people swim at the beach or pool. These accidents can lead to critical injuries, such as head wounds or other medical problems.
  • Traffic accidents. Crashes in road traffic are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 5 and 29, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Vacation travel in vehicles and on public transportation put passengers at risk of traffic accidents that give rise to critical injuries.
  • Water sports. Jet Skiing, parasailing, and scuba diving are popular water-based activities for vacationers — and they also present serious opportunities for mishap. For example, a Jet Ski can be difficult to steer, leaving the rider at risk of crashing and sustaining a serious injury to the spinal cord or head.

Trauma Nursing Tips for Treating Diverse Patient Populations

Trauma nurses must know how to treat various life-threatening injuries, often caring for multiple patients who need immediate care. Each year, trauma leads to 41 million emergency medical visits and 2 million hospital visits, according to the Coalition for National Trauma Research (CNTR). These injuries trigger associated emotional trauma that calls for empathy and compassion in trauma nursing.

In essence, trauma nursing in vacation cities means caring for critically injured people from all over the world. This requires a keen awareness of how to deliver care and emotional support to patients from diverse backgrounds and their loved ones.

Acknowledging and Appreciating Differences

Being mindful of people’s differences can help strengthen the nurse-patient relationship and advance high-quality care for those who have sustained traumatic injuries. Treating a diverse population of patients calls for acknowledging and appreciating differences related to:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Education
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Nationality
  • Physical characteristics
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socioeconomic status

To ensure an understanding of the broad range of differences among people from various parts of the world, trauma nurses should communicate with patients and their loved ones, as well as other medical professionals, to determine preferred practices, based on a patient’s culture and beliefs.

This recognition of differences in patient background may include asking patients who are able to communicate what their language preferences are, or it may mean enlisting the help of a trained translator when speaking with family members. It may mean taking cues from patients and families about whether to make direct eye contact, provide certain foods, or remove their jewelry for treatment. It may also mean taking into consideration end-of-life decisions based on religion and cultural norms.

Special Considerations for Nursing in Vacation Cities

Trauma nursing is a fast-paced profession centered on saving lives. The stress of that responsibility can leave individuals in this role at risk of burnout. However, the rewards, as well as the challenges, are many.

Challenges of Working in a Vacation City

Professionals working in areas that vacationers frequent face some potential drawbacks. Among the issues to watch out for when working in a vacation city where crowds of tourists come and go are a possible lack of social connection, higher costs due to higher pricing for tourists, crowds at restaurants and recreational events, and a focus mainly on the upkeep of tourist attractions.

Benefits of Working in a Vacation City

The benefits of working in a vacation city may outweigh potential concerns. A main attraction of many vacation areas is their natural beauty. Other potential benefits of working in a tourist area include plenty of amenities, convenient transportation and other services, and even opportunities to earn income renting your home to tourists.

Discover Your Future Providing Advanced Trauma Nursing Care

If you’re ready to advance your career in nursing by strengthening your leadership skills and ability to work with diverse populations, explore the online MSN program at Hawai‘i Pacific University. It’s a program focused on care that takes into account the many cultural traditions that make up the local community and those who make it their vacation destination — and it offers this education through a flexible, online environment.

Discover how the online MSN program at HPU can help you reach your professional goals.


Recommended Readings

The Benefits of Advanced Nursing: What Is the Expected MSN Salary Range?

What Is an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner?

How Family Nurse Practitioners Can Play a Major Role in Addressing the Growing Physician Shortage in the U.S.



Australian Nursing & Midwifery Journal, "5 Strategies to Deal With Vicarious Trauma"

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Blood Clots and Travel: What You Need to Know

Coalition for National Trauma Research, Mission of the Coalition for National Trauma Research

Indeed, "How to Become a Trauma Nurse"

Leighton Law, "15 of the Most Common Travel Injuries in America"

Minority Nurse, "The Importance of Diversity in Nursing: Breaking Down Stereotypes and Inclusivity Barriers"

National Council for Home Safety and Security, Most Dangerous Countries for Travel

National Institute on Aging, Providing Care to a Diverse Population

Oncology Nursing News, "Nurses Must Adapt to Meet the Needs of a Diverse Patient Population"

Overseas Property Alert, "Pros and Cons of Living in a Tourist Area"

RoadSnacks, "Most Dangerous States in America for 2021"

Statista, Number of Recreational Boating Accidents in the U.S. in 2020, by Primary Contributing Factor

World Health Organization, Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018

ZipRecruiter, What Is a Trauma Nurse and How to Become One