The Role of Undergraduate Nursing Education in Disaster Response

Saturday, 16 November 2013: 3:15 PM

Crystal C. Shannon, PhD, MSN, MBA, RN
College of Health and Human Services, School of Nursing, Indiana University Northwest, Gary, IN

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the active role to be played by local nursing schools when responding to community disasters.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify opportunities for active academic-community collaborations that develop and implement disaster preparedness training and response.

Nurses are often on the front line of defense in terms of emergency preparedness and response. Yet, many are inadequately trained on the roles and responsibilities they have for the community-at-large. The education and training of nursing students on disaster response is very important to the maintenance and overall provision of health and well being of the larger population. Simulation is identified as an effective and safe environment for students to learn, train and practice how to deliver emergency nursing care in realistic settings and research has acknowledged the need for increased simulated disaster preparedness exercises. Nursing education teaches pre-licensure students components of clinical practice, critical thinking, and methods to maintain a healthy community. However, when placed in stressful or unfamiliar clinical environments, students are often overwhelmed and have increased difficulty with concepts such as prioritization, assessment and triage. Frequent opportunities to practice these skills in a realistic setting prepare faculty and students to respond to unknown situations with improved confidence. Additionally, this places nursing education within a more active role of community engagement and emergency response support. Although nursing education includes disaster response training within its curriculum, the concepts and principles of emergency response may not be fully translated to students. Therefore, active preparation of local SON can offer added benefit to communities as they develop their own disaster response measures.