Disaster Nursing: A Retrospective Review
Stangeland, Paula A
Critical care nursing clinics of North America 2010 Dec; 22(4): 421-36
A plethora of information exists in the literature regarding emergencies and disasters. Nevertheless, significant gaps in the science related to nurses working during disasters are revealed. Few studies have addressed the perspective of nurses and their intent to respond to future disasters. Because nurses are invaluable to disaster response efforts, more research is essential to validate current findings and elucidate the needs of nurses who respond to disasters and other health emergencies. There is a paucity of research in the literature describing nurses' lived experiences of working during hurricanes. Natural disasters inevitably inflict human suffering, and nurses are expected to respond and provide services during these catastrophic times. Lost within this expectation are the experiences and concerns of the nurses who are called upon and intend to respond to the disaster, and yet are themselves affected by the disaster. Understanding the experiences and needs of nurses who decide to respond to the call of duty and work during disasters remains unclear in the literature. Research in the area of disaster response intentions by nurses becomes the initial step in understanding the phenomenon of working during a disaster and creating innovative approaches that address working during disasters. Disaster policies have been developed and implemented at the international, national, state, local, and hospital level. Nevertheless, disasters continue to adversely impact communities and hospitals at all levels causing injuries, death, and destruction of infrastructure. To reduce the impact of disasters, continued research is needed to inform and strengthen future disaster policies. Knowledge gained from future research has great potential to inform nursing education, research, and practice, as well as health policy related to the care of individuals and responders before, during, and after disasters.
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