Nurses as Leaders in Disaster Preparedness and Response: A Call to Action

Nursing Call to Action-Lavin 07-2016

ABSTRACT Submitted to the Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health 2016 Meeting

 Title of Poster: Nurses as Leaders in Disaster Preparedness and Response: A Call to Action

Authors: Roberta Lavin, PhD, FNP-BC, University of Missouri-St. Louis (Presenter); Tener Goodwin Veenema, PhD, MPH, MS, RN, FAAN (Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Center for Refugee and Disaster Response Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Mary Pat Couig, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Alicia R. Gable, Mph Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center; Anne Griffin, BSN, MPH Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center

Funding:  The workgroup that produced this work was partially funded by the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center.

Conflict of Interest:  The authors have no known conflict of interest.

Healthcare’s response to a public health emergency is largely dependent on surge capacity of the nurse workforce. Yet, prior efforts to prepare & mobilize nurses for disasters have been episodic & difficult to sustain. Current assessments of professional readiness indicate that nurses are inadequately prepared to respond to disasters.

In order to improve national preparedness and develop a vision for the future of disaster nursing, identify barriers and facilitators to achieving the vision, and develop recommendations for nursing practice, education, policy and research, a series of conference calls were conducted with fourteen national subject matter experts to generate relevant concepts regarding national nursing workforce preparedness. A workshop was held to refine these concepts. Participants included Colleges and Universities, nursing organizations, the American Red Cross, the U.S. Public Health Services and Military, and healthcare organizations. Our panel explored strategies and proposed recommendations to achieve a vision “To create a national nursing workforce with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to respond to disasters and public health emergencies in a timely and effective manner.”

We seek to ensure that all nurses:

  • Possess a minimum knowledge base, skills and abilities regarding disaster response and public health emergency preparedness;
  • respond directly or provide indirect support during a disaster event or public health emergency;
  • promote preparedness amongst individuals in their care, families, communities and within the organizations they represent; and

A set of strategies and education will be presented from each of the four workgroups:

  • Research – Establish a research agenda based on documented gaps in literature, nursing knowledge, skills, and resources
  • Policy – Facilitate deployment of nurses and other health care workers to disaster areas.
  • Practice – support clinical nursing practice during disaster and meet crisis standards of care
  • Education – establish a national set of disaster nursing competencies and evidence based content for academic and lifelong learning opportunities

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