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Posted: January 4th, 2023

Community Nursing and Disaster Preparedness

Community Nursing and Disaster Preparedness: Assessing the Role of Community Nursing in Emergency Response and Disaster Management

Introduction

Disasters are increasing at local, national, and global levels, as is the need for all nurses and communities to be prepared. Disasters can be natural or man-made, and they pose a threat to public health and safety. According to Putra et al. (2011), annually, 255 million people are impacted by disasters globally, and 62,000 people per year die as a result of large-scale, global disasters. Disasters are unpredictable and can occur at any given moment, so preparedness is crucial.

Community nursing is a vital component of disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Community nurses have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide education, community engagement, health promotion, and interventions to safeguard the public health before, during, and after disasters. They also provide first aid, advanced clinical care, lifesaving medications, assess and triage victims, allocate scarce resources, and monitor ongoing physical and mental health needs (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [NASEM], 2021).

However, community nursing faces many challenges in disaster management, such as insufficient funding, lack of training opportunities, fragmented health care system, health inequities, and ethical dilemmas. Therefore, this paper aims to assess the role of community nursing in emergency response and disaster management and provide recommendations for improvement.

Role of Community Nursing in Emergency Response and Disaster Management

Community nursing plays a key role in emergency response and disaster management at different phases: preparedness, response, and recovery.

Preparedness

Preparedness is the phase where community nurses plan and prepare for potential disasters. This includes conducting risk assessments, developing disaster plans and protocols, identifying vulnerable populations and their needs, establishing partnerships and collaborations with other agencies and stakeholders, securing resources and supplies, educating the public and other health care providers on disaster prevention and mitigation strategies, and participating in drills and simulations to test disaster response plans (Rafferty-Semon et al., 2017).

One example of a preparedness strategy that involves community nursing is the Point of Distribution/Dispensation (POD), which is a site where the public can receive medications or vaccines during a public health emergency. Community nurses can help design, implement, and evaluate PODs by collaborating with the county public health department and the local emergency management agency. They can also train other staff and volunteers on how to operate PODs safely and efficiently (Rafferty-Semon et al., 2017).

Response

Response is the phase where community nurses provide immediate assistance to disaster victims. This includes providing first aid, advanced clinical care

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