Educating Nursing Students on Emergency Preparedness: A Pilot Program
The purpose of this project was to determine if a disaster preparedness educational intervention for nursing students’ could engage students in personal preparedness and enhance their willingness to respond during a public health emergency. The United States (U.S.) is among the top five countries in the world that experience frequent natural disasters (Guha-Sapir et al., 2012). With over 3.1 million nurses in the U.S. (AACN, 2011) and their importance to healthcare, the nursing profession plays a crucial role in the ability of the nation to prepare for and respond to disasters. Currently, however, nurses in the U.S. lack the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to effectively respond to disasters, thereby placing the public at risk. A pilot program was developed that introduced the topic of disaster preparedness to senior level nursing students through a one-hour course. The pilot program utilized a pre- and post-survey method to evaluate the effect of the education on nursing students. A convenience sample of 18 students participated in the class, course evaluation and pre-survey, and 14 students responded to the post- survey request. Data were collected and analyzed on the course evaluation, measuring how well the course objectives were met and the appropriateness of the teaching strategies. Pre- and post- survey results were compared to determine the effectiveness of the pilot program. The results indicated that the course encouraged nursing students to engage in preparedness, and to be willing to respond. No increased in pre-registration with a professional emergency preparedness organization was noted. Implications from this pilot program include the need for further studies regarding best methods for educating nursing students. Also, advance practice registered nurses need to lead the nursing profession in emergency preparedness to increase the resilience of the United States during disasters.