Are we ready? Preparing nurses to respond to disasters and emerging infectious diseases

Usher, Kim (2010) Are we ready? Preparing nurses to respond to disasters and emerging infectious diseases. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19 (11-12). pp. 1483-1484.

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The need to be adequately prepared to face the challenges of disasters and emergencies has never been greater. This is also the case across the health workforce but especially for nurses and midwives. Recent natural disasters such as the bushfires and floods in Australia, the earthquakes in Indonesia, Pakistan and China, and the tsunamis in Thailand and Indonesia, have led to a heightened concern about the current adequacy of disaster response in the health workforce and other associated services. Natural disasters are often catastrophic, result in mass casualties, inflict a huge toll on health workers and stress their ability to cope. To manage effectively in such situations requires adequate preparation as well as available resources and support services. In addition to the added preparation required to manage natural disasters, we now face renewed threats from infectious diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreaks, as well as outbreaks of avian and swine influenza. Interestingly, we seem to only now realise that outbreaks of newly emerging contagious diseases are here to stay; they are predicted to be a major health problem of the 21st century (Smith 2006). Given the current outbreak of novel influenza, or H1N1, it is evident that nurses and other health workers must be adequately prepared to face these challenges. As nurses are particularly vulnerable to contracting the disease due to their close proximity to patients and direct contact with respiratory fluids (Marjanovic et al. 2007), it is even more important to enhance the health workforce preparedness to meet these challenges.

Item ID: 11571
Item Type: Article (Editorial)
ISSN: 1365-2702
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Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2010 04:39
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111002 Clinical Nursing: Primary (Preventative) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 100%
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