203877 Full activation! Hurricane Ike response and our school of nursing disaster mobilization plan

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:00 AM

Trish O'Day, MSN, RN, CNS , School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Background and Issues: In times of community wide disaster, public health nursing will need additional nursing resources for a full and adequate response. Our School of Nursing implemented formal protocols for disaster response after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which includes a Memorandum of Cooperation with the City of Austin and a process for the call up of nursing resources.

Description: In fall 2008, our Disaster Mobilization Plan at UT School of Nursing was fully activated in response to a call from the City of Austin to staff a Medical Special Needs Shelter with fully trained volunteers. In addition, faculty and graduate students fulfilled other roles such as medical triage by phone in the Emergency Operations Center and the general shelters. Faculty assisted in developing protocols to assist in triage problem solving, thus limiting unnecessary visits to the emergency rooms.

Lessons Learned: (1) Linking up with a School of Nursing has advantages: known, vetted, immediately accessible and trained volunteers. (2) Since scheduling volunteers is time-consuming and labor intensive, an online volunteer registration form helped. We are exploring online self-scheduling. (3) We were prepared for shelters and clinics but were asked to triage complex care issues for general shelter populations. (4) Every nurse should have basic public health nursing competencies.

Recommendations: Other Schools of Nursing could benefit from our experiences in partnering with the City for disaster response. City and county health departments can benefit from such partnerships.

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify at least two necessary components for a School of Nursing Disaster Mobilization Plan. 2.Describe at least two challenges for scheduling volunteers in a disaster response. 3.Analyze the ability to replicate in your community or School of Nursing.

Keywords: Disasters, Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I did the work as described in the abstract and I wrote the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.