With U.S. numbers exceeding 3.1 million, registered nurses comprise the largest group of professionals in the healthcare workforce (Henry J. Kaiser Website, 2017, NACNEP (2009)). Research indicates that the nursing workforce is inadequately prepared to respond to major disasters (NACNEP (2009), Baack and Alfred (2013)). To begin addressing this capability shortfall, the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC) seeks to advance the practice of disaster nursing, and in 2014 initiated a national Call to Action. As a result of VEMEC efforts, a group of subject matter experts held a series of meetings to develop a vision for the future of disaster nursing and to plan a workshop, which was attended by 70 participants, in an effort to further refine the vision and to identify the steps needed to achieve their goals (Venema et al (2016)). Ongoing collective efforts culminated in plans to launch a new organization: Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing (SADN).
In December of 2016, the first national leadership planning meeting for SADN was held at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD. Presentations included summaries of the work to date of the five SADN workgroups (Policy, Practice, Education, Research, and Dissemination). The keynote speaker was Sally Philips, PhD, RN, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Keynote Sally Philips, PhD, RN
Dr. Philips provided a critical perspective on the future role of nurses in disaster preparedness, response. and recovery for the near term.
We were also privileged to hear a talk by Paul B. Spiegel, MD, MPH, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who gave a compelling presentation entitled ‘The Syrian Conflict and its effect on the future of Humanitarian Action’.
During the afternoon session, the meeting attendees broke into groups to develop key recommendations for SADN’s strategic plan and outline activities for each of the five SADN workgroups moving forward. Discussions also revolved around the newly forming society’s values as well as next steps, including formalizing SADN as a 501c3 nonprofit entity.
Stay tuned for more exciting developments regarding our efforts to advance the practice of disaster nursing!
- Total Number of Professionally Active Nurses, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Webpage ( kff.org/other/state-indicator/total-registered-nurses/?currentTimeframe=0), Downloaded 2-7-17.
- National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP), Challenges Facing the Nurse Workforce in a Changing Environment, Seventh Annual Report to Secretary of U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Congress, March 2009.
- Baack, S and Alfred, D, (2013). Nurses’ Preparedness and Perceived Competence in Managing Disasters. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 45(3): 281-287
- Veenema, TG, Griffin, A, Gable, AR et al (2016). Nurses as Leaders in Disaster Preparedness and Response–A Call to Action. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 48 (2):187-200.