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Nursing a disaster

Stephanie B. Turner, EdD, MSN, RN


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the needs of nurses predisaster and postdisaster.

Design/Methods: This study involved an exploratory mixed methods approach, with semistructured in-depth interviews followed by a 10-item survey of resilience.

Setting: The study took place in the PI's office in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Subjects: Ten English speaking nurses from an area hospital who were on duty during the April 2011 tornado. Participant recruitment involved distribution of flyers in break areas and other well-populated areas within the hospital.

Interventions: Each interview was audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Interview transcripts were reviewed and analyzed for themes, which were categorized, coded, and thoroughly examined. The survey was administered to the participants at the conclusion of the interview.

Main Outcome Measure: Study used an exploratory method; to gain an understanding of the needs of nurses predisaster and postdisaster.

Findings: All 10 participants were found to have higher levels of resilience than the general population.  Results of the interviews included valid concerns for more disaster planning and education, as well as postdisaster counseling.

Conclusions: Organizations have the responsibility to keep the nursing workforce happy and healthy. Because disaster response can be both emotionally and physically damaging, it is imperative to increase disaster training and education to those who have the potential to be involved in a disaster event. Postdisaster counseling is also needed to help nurses deal with the stress that occurs during and after a disaster.


disasters, nursing care, disaster management

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