Purpose: This presentation will discuss educational opportunities related to disaster nursing and identify potential nursing roles in the phases of disasters through participation in various disaster drills, activities in the community, and interaction with key agencies/stakeholders.
Conceptual Frameworks: FEMA’s disaster framework, health belief model, composite cognition (a new construct), Bloom’s taxonomy, and volunteerism and human behavior models.
Methods: Faculty and students involved in disaster nursing volunteered to participate in, observe, or evaluate disaster drills in various community agencies: a community active shooter drill in a local ED (internal disaster); a multi-agency active shooter drill in a community location (external disaster with first responders); an earthquake drill/final examination for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members (internal and external disasters); a mass casualty incident/multiagency response/final exam for paramedics at the county Office of Emergency Management. Some members had the opportunity to be moulaged (have disaster make-up applied) and were assigned to various “victim” roles; some were transported via ambulance while others were triaged and remained at the “scene”.
Results: Direct field observation enabled faculty members and students to have a more authentic experience related to disasters and to see nurses performing in non-traditional first responder and teaching roles. Moulage provided a more engaging and realistic experience. Participation in the debrief/hotwash enabled participants and observers to identify areas of strength, weaknesses, and the under recognized roles of nurses. There were opportunities for discussions of areas of miscommunication and misunderstanding between first responders, receivers, and other stakeholders. Learning occurred across domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.
Implications/Conclusions: Preparing nurses for 21st century healthcare realities includes being knowledgeable about nursing roles in all phases of disasters in traditional and non-traditional surroundings. Participating in disaster drills allows nurses to connect with others in the disaster field, helps to foster understanding and connectedness between various stakeholders (government, first responders, healthcare workers), develops a more effective and efficient disaster system, and demonstrates civic engagement.
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