Emergency preparedness curriculum: essential skills for nurses responding in disasters

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University of Alabama Libraries

Much of the disaster nursing literature reviewed echoes the need for development of a disaster content in nursing curriculum (Duarte & Haynes, 2006; Kahalaieh, Bond, & Alasad, 2012; Littleton-Kearney & Slepski, 2008; Smith, 2007). There is continued debate over emergency preparedness (EP) content that should be included in the curriculum, where it fits, who teaches it, and what clinical experiences are needed to prepare nurses for the future (Duarte & Haynes, 2006; Kahalaieh et al., 2012; Littleton-Kearney & Slepski, 2008; Slepski, 2007; Smith, 2007). The purpose of this study is to examine the lived experiences of nurses first time responding to a civilian disaster response in shelters or temporary community medical clinics in an attempt to identify the essential knowledge and skills necessary to provide care to disaster victims. The theoretical framework for this study was the theory of novice to expert, experiential learning, clinical reasoning, and using real life situations to develop the student's sense of salience by Benner et al. (1996, 2009; 2010). This study utilized the narrative inquiry to explore the phenomena of nurses' experiences in a disaster for the first time. There were several new findings revealed in this study: lack of prior knowledge of how to volunteer during a disaster response; none of the nurse responded directly during the acute mass casualty phase of the disaster and described their work as "like a clinic"; a majority noted previous experience in mass casualty exercise did not help them with their actual response in the community; specific assessment skills needed to conduct an assessment on the disaster victim in the community setting; and the use of inconsistent and outdated EP terminology in undergraduate textbooks. In light of these new findings, I attempted to directly address these gaps during the development of proposed Model for Level One: Basic Nursing Disaster Curriculum which is included in the discussion.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Nursing, Educational evaluation, Public health