Three Curriculum Models for Preparing Nursing Students for Disasters

Saturday, 16 November 2013: 3:35 PM

Janice S. Smith, PhD, RN, CNE1
Cheryl K. Schmidt, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN2
Kathleen V. Eid-Heberle, MSN, RN, CNE1
(1)Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA
(2)College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR

Learning Objective 1: Discuss the importance of integrating disaster preparedness education into nursing curricula.

Learning Objective 2: Describe two curriculum models for preparing nursing students for disasters.

In a world with threats of terrorism, natural and man-made disasters, and pandemics, it is an increasing likelihood that nurses in all specialty areas would be called to action. Nurses make up the largest portion of the health care workforce and would be first receivers, possibly even first responders, in such an event. The Nursing Emergency Preparedness Education Coalition and the American Nurses Association developed educational competencies for nurses responding to mass casualty events. Faculty from two universities present approaches to integrate preparedness and disaster nursing competencies into their curricula. Disaster content can be added to courses, taught in tandem with a community health course, or integrated through shorter lectures. These nursing programs partnered with the American Red Cross and other community agencies to convey this content. A national Red Cross Disaster Health and Sheltering course is also being offered throughout the U.S. as a result of these early efforts. The content can be integrated in the basic education of all nurses and is included on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. It is essential that nursing students be provided knowledge about disaster nursing that will prepare them for their various fields of practice. With the increased expectation of graduates having a foundational knowledge of emergency preparedness and disaster nursing, nursing programs must find approaches to integrate this knowledge and skills into curricula.