235710 Providing Surge Capacity to the Public Health Nursing Workforce Through Emergency Preparedness Training

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM

Angel Anderson, MPH, REHS , Emergency Planning and Response Division, Jefferson County Public Health, Golden, CO
Christine Billings, MPH , Emergency Preparedness and Response, Jefferson County Public Health, Golden, CO
Jody Erwin, MAS , Emergency Planning and Response Division, Jefferson County Public Health, Golden, CO
Pamela Stephens, MPA , Emergency Planning and Response Division, Jefferson County Public Health, Golden, CO
Cheryl Hanson, RN BScN , Jefferson County Public Health, Lakewood, CO
Beginning in late October and into early November 2010 Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) detected a sharp incline in the number of reported cases of pertussis within the Jefferson County community. In this short time span of approximately two months, 250 cases required investigation by JCPH public health nursing staff.

As this case load was outside the capacity of the current communicable disease staff, the JCPH Emergency Preparedness team was contacted for assistance. At the request of the public health nurses, a partial activation of the JCPH Incident Response Team was initiated to allow for surge capacity for case investigations. This multi-disciplinary internal response team was initially created to respond to major public health emergencies (bioterrorism, pandemic influenza). However, the team was also trained over the course of a year on the daily internal responsibilities of the communicable disease control program: outbreak investigation, response to food borne illness emergencies, and the roles that each program has within the department. Public health emergency response planning created an environment for success and provided the public health nursing staff with surge capacity for case investigation. This model of training allowed for appropriate response times, timely initiation of prevention measures, and prevented burn-out in the nursing staff. Integrating emergency preparedness into the daily activities of a local public health department, while not changing the culture of public health, can lead to an environment where diverse staff from different programs can be activated to provide surge capacity for an already taxed public health nursing workforce.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how integrating emergency preparedness into public health can provide surge capacity for public health nurses. 2. Identify key components of a training curriculum to prepare staff for public health nursing surge capacity.

Keywords: Public Health Nursing, Training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am part of the EP division and I assist with training of staff. I am the regional epidemiologist for three counties and oversee disease investigations.
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.