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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!

6 comments

  • 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: ronhill1281@live.com . 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

  • 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.

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