Join the Discussion

Personal Emergency Preparedness:  Nurses Serving Nurses as Trusted Messengers

With approximately 2.8 million registered nurses in the United States (HRSA, 2013), nurses comprise the largest segment of the healthcare workforce and disaster response is often dependent on the surge capacity of the nurse workforce (NACNEP).

Literature suggests there are significant barriers which have an impact on nurses’ willingness to respond to a disaster.  Among them: lack of personal preparedness, concern/fear for family and pets, effect of disaster on self and personal property, transportation obstacles, fear for self within the work environment and the absence of crisis standards of care (CSC) (Orlando, 2008; Danna, 2010; Adams, 2011; Connor, 2014; Shipman, 2016).

In 2013, leaders from FEMA and the Red Cross gathered to discuss how to improve preparedness messaging to encourage the public to prepare themselves and their families for a disaster.  One of their key recommendations was to identify “trusted messengers” to share preparedness messaging; individuals tend to listen more intently to messengers they trust.

As part of a campaign to ensure that all nurses are prepared, we are inviting nurses who were called on to respond to disaster, to serve as a “trusted messengers” by sharing their story about how their own personal preparedness impacted their response.  A collection of voices will be compiled into an audio-visual presentation to be shared with professional nursing organization conferences and events.

The Disaster Nursing Call to Action was initiated by Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center in 2014 to improve nursing readiness.  Those efforts have resulted in the formation of the Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing and a commitment to make every RN ready to respond to a disaster event or public health emergency.

If you are a nurse and you have responded to a major disaster in a hospital or public health setting, please share your story about personal preparedness.

Be the Voice of a Trusted Messenger:  Share Your Personal Preparedness Story

Thank you so much for your participation.

Together we can encourage all nurses to have a personal preparedness plan!


  • Hello,
    My name is Theresa Bucco. Currently I am a Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU CON. I teach a Disaster Nursing Elective at the College. I designed the course and received a grant from the College to develop this course and an online disaster module for all graduating seniors. I am looking to become more actively engaged in this organization. I applied years ago and am a member but never heard anything from anyone about membership. If there are any available positions to serve on or committees; I would love to engage.

  • I want to share to a new concept that the VA Healthcare System is initiating. Based on after-action reviews from COVID-19, the VA has decided to expand its disaster response capabilities by implementing Clinical Deployment Teams. These are 20 person teams comprised of MD/DO/NP/RN/LPN/Social Workers from Primary Care, MedSurg, ED and ICU specialty areas whose primary role is to deploy in support of emergencies within the VA healthcare system and in response to the VA’s 4th mission to support ESF #8 and communities. When not deploying or training, the CDT team members will provide direct patient care in their specialty area in a VA Medical Center. These clinical teams augment their volunteer Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System which is comprised of employee volunteers across all clinical and nonclinical services. If you are interested in more information please feel free to reach out to me.

  • Hi Everyone,I have been a RN working in critical care/trauma for 53 years. Five years ago I became involved as a volunteer with the American Red Cross and I am currently disaster health services lead for our three state area. I have deployed to 10 national disasters, including hurricane Irma and Typhoon YuTu in Saipan. I teach disaster preparedness to undergraduate nursing students and public health nurses throughout a tri-state area. I have taken several FEMA incident commandd classes, am a certified nurse educator and disaster nurse specialist. I will begin work on my PhD next year and my passion is communicating the importance of disaster preparedness to individuals, communities and nations.

    • Welcome.

    • Hi Mary! I am a nontrad BSN student interested in emergency, critical care, and disaster nursing. Are you taking any mentees? Thank you for your service.

    • HI Mary,

      My name is Cindy, I am from Vancouver, BC Canada, and I would love to chat with you about your experiences and teaching undergrad students. Currently, I am trying to develop an BSN elective in Disaster Nursing and Emergency Preparedness and would love your input.

      • Cindy Miner, my name is Joanne Langan (PhD, RN, CNE). I have taught a Disaster Preparedness elective to Undergraduates and Pre-Licensure nursing students for many years. I would be happy to navigate you through the process.

  • Rebecca Terranova

    I have been engaged in disaster preparation, response and education since 2001. I was the Assistant Manger of the Nursing Skills Lab at NYU on 9/11. My supervisor and I worked with a National Guard Unit to set up a relief station at Pace University. Months later, I registered with the NYC Medical Reserve Corp. and became a Disaster Health RN with the Greater New York Chapter of the American Red Cross. In that capacity, I gained experience riding along with Disaster Assessment Teams to apartment fires throughout the city to assess the health needs of the affected families. As Manager of the Nursing Lab, I integrated the identified disaster nursing skills into the Fundamentals of Nursing lab portion of the course. Through a cooperative activity with the NYU College of Dentistry, I was a participant in a combined Nursing-Dentistry Faculty-Student Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Environmental Course offered by the U.S. Army, Fort Sam Houston in 2004. I became certified in Basic and Core Disaster Life Support. I also worked the reception center for evacuaees of Hurricane Katrina, assessing healthcare needs and making referrals to the Health & Hospitals Corporation. While still at NYU, I lectured on Disaster Nursing in the undergraduate and graduate community and population health courses. In 2009, The Geriatric Nursing Consortium asked me to conduct several tabletop simulations for home health agencies on agency preparedness.
    Since moving to Florida in 2011, I have continued my association with the MRC and American Red Cross. I worked a shelter nurse during Hurricane Irma.

  • Hi, this is Martin, I teach nursing at a university in TX. I am working to create a deployable nursing student (w/ faculty) sheltering team. I am seeking guidance on how to accomplish this, as well as possible funding streams. Please email me at – thanks!

  • Hi all,
    It has been quite a while since we have met. Is there any plan for a meeting in the near future.

  • plz can anyone tell me the latest nursing frame work for disaster nursing competencies

  • I am a disaster responder both DHS and DMH. I have deployed to a few disasters. Currently, I am creatijng documents to have a precepted program for student nurses to learn about nursing in disasters. I would be delighted to share all my work.

    shirlee cohen, DNP, MPH, ANP-BC, NPP, CCRN

    • Ron Hilliard, MSN, RN

      Shirlee, Did you do your DHS and DMH through the Red Cross? I am the Regional Nursing Lead for Central and South Texas Region of ARC and interested in getting student nurses more engaged. I was an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Concordia University Texas College of Nursing for about 8 years teaching the disaster nursing curriculum and just retired. I would like to discuss this subject further and see how the ARC Student Nurse Program can be used as a possibility to help accomplish what you are talking about. My personal email is: . Looking forward to exploring this with you. Ron

      • Awesome. At a FEMA conf today and tomorrow. Will send you what I am working on yes. ARC

    • Shirlee,

      The work you are doing is so imperative to preparing nurses for disasters. I appreciate your contributions and encourage you to continue this very important work which will help nurses to respond in the unpredictable future of disaster nursing.

  • I came across this group by accident, and am very grateful I did.. I can provide a resume outlining my background. Essentially ED trained, and made my way up to Hospital Administration, but ER is my passion. Along the way I was very fortunate in that I had opportunities to take advanced FEMA Training, trained at the county fire academy, and have a real interest in disaster management. I am pleased to see a nursing organization focused in this area.. I am extremely interested in offering assistance with anything I may help out with. I will forward a resume, however I have extensive experience managing non-profit boards and associations, worked in politics prior to Nursing, which gave me a background in non-profit management, and the operations of associations which I have applied in my nursing career. I have been President of many Nursing organizations, have created boards, and am familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order.. Further, my focus and passion is policy and politics and the marriage of these fields with my career in Nursing. I sit on many policy committees and legislative affairs committees. I would be very interested in learning more about the organization and offering what assistance that may be needed… here is my cell, please call if I can be of any help 347 684 2345

    • I added a membership page. If you go to it and become a member, still free, we would love to get you involved.

  • Ron Hilliard, MSN, RN

    I am very interested in being a part of this organization. Nursing preparedness is one of my primary areas of interest and I am working to get nurses educated and able to react appropriately in a disaster. I would like to be part of the Education Work group.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.