Public Health Nursing Competencies for Public Health Surge Events

The Ohio State University College of Nursing, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Public Health Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.83). 03/2008; 25(2):159-65. DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2008.00692.x
Source: PubMed


To develop consensus regarding public health nursing competencies in the event of a public health surge event related to disaster.
Using a 3-round Delphi approach, public health nurses (PHNs) and directors of nursing from local health departments, state nursing leaders, and national nursing preparedness experts reviewed and commented on 49 draft competencies derived from existing documents.
The final 25 competencies were categorized into Preparedness (n=9), Response (n=8), and Recovery (n=7). The Preparedness competencies focus on personal preparedness; comprehending disaster preparedness terms, concepts, and roles; becoming familiar with the health department's disaster plan, communication equipment suitable for disaster situations; and the role of the PHN in a surge event. Conducting a rapid needs assessment, outbreak investigation and surveillance, public health triage, risk communication, and technical skills such as mass dispensing are Response phase competencies. Recovery competencies include participating in the debriefing process, contributing to disaster plan modifications, and coordinating efforts to address the psychosocial and public health impact of the event.
Identification of competencies for surge events that are specific to public health nursing is critical to assure that PHNs are able to respond to these events in an effective and efficient manner.

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    • "The scientific reports from nurses’ experiences demonstrate that they generally feel under-prepared and poorly equipped for disaster relief work.[9] This may be due to the lack of training and relevant content in their pre-service education.[1011] For example, the results from a study about nurses’ preparedness in Australia (2006) showed that the number of nurses that have enough preparedness, competence, and experience for disaster relief work are limited.[12] "
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    • "Educational competencies for registered nurses responding to mass casualty incidents Kuntz et al 2008 Disaster preparedness white paper for community/public health nursing educators Polivka et al 2008 Public health nursing competencies for public health surge events Gebbie and Qureshi 2002 Emergency and disaster preparedness: core competencies for nurses Gebbie and Merrill 2002 Public Health Worker Competencies for Disaster Training Jorgensen 2010 Emergency preparedness and disaster response core competency set for perinatal and neonatal nurses Markenson et al 2005 Preparing health professions students for terrorism, disaster, and public health emergencies: core competencies Schultz et al 2012 Development of national standardized all-hazard disaster core competencies for acute care physicians, nurses, and EMS professionals "
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    • "Furthermore, since disasters affect people's health and the public healthcare system, PHNs have a major role; they must manage and provide assistance during all disaster phases (Vogt & Kulbok, 2008). Thus, training PHNs for involvement in all these phases is recommended as part of a comprehensive disaster management strategy (Polivka et al., 2008; Rogers & Lawhorn, 2007). "

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