Disasters and emergencies are associated with the need for sufficient staffing in healthcare organizations or facilities. In the healthcare facility under discussion, a disaster response plan is developed according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. The plan for emergency preparedness is designed to include the policies for both nurses and physicians (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). According to the statements in this plan, all healthcare professionals are contacted directly when an unexpected disaster event occurs, and they are expected to demonstrate the willingness to respond, to work overtime, to act according to the completed emergency training, and to provide care for patients and persons in need. This plan is highly visible as it is placed on each information board in the facility in both full and shortened forms to examine when it is necessary.
While using the developed emergency plan, the discussed healthcare facility prepares employees for responding to the following types of disasters: hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, external flooding, drought, pandemics, transportation incidents, and terrorist bombings. Detailed instructions for actions to take are provided in the plan, and it is practiced by all healthcare professionals working in the facility two times a year. Areas of emergency and disaster management covered during training include threat mitigation, preparedness, disaster response, and recovery. Those training sessions that are proposed in the facility are oriented to providing knowledge regarding disasters, as well as exercising.
Despite the proposed training, there are still barriers that can influence employees’ willingness to respond to disaster events. Firstly, the proposed emergency response plan does not provide instructions to cope with chemical, biological, and radiological threats. The information about explosive injuries is also limited. As a result, employees choose not to respond to such disasters because of the lack of knowledge and high risks (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Secondly, although healthcare providers know how to act during pandemics, they also resist responding to the emergency because of safety concerns (Connor, 2014). Another important barrier is the lack of support for healthcare providers’ families (Ogedegbe, Nyirenda, DelMoro, Yamin, & Feldman, 2012). Thus, among other healthcare professionals, nurses refuse to respond to emergency cases while reporting necessities for caring for their families.
To improve the facility’s disaster plan and address the identified barriers, the Public Health Nursing Director should revise the proposed emergency preparedness plan in terms of its content and provided training. It is important to add information about chemical, biological, and radiological threats and approaches to addressing them (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Possible scenarios of developing such disasters should be practiced during training sessions. Furthermore, it is important to guarantee safety for those healthcare workers who respond to disaster events while providing them with necessary protective equipment and other resources (Connor, 2014; Ogedegbe et al., 2012). Also, employees should have opportunities to care for their families when disasters occur. They can be provided with transportation or services to accommodate their family members in the healthcare facility. Moreover, all employees who respond to disasters should also receive psychological support to cope with challenges effectively. All these measures and recommendations should be reflected in the currently used facility’s disaster plan to reduce possible barriers to the emergency response.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Emergency preparedness and response: Preparation and planning. Web.
Connor, S. B. (2014). When and why health care personnel respond to a disaster: The state of the science. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 29(3), 270-274.
Ogedegbe, C., Nyirenda, T., DelMoro, G., Yamin, E., & Feldman, J. (2012). Health care workers and disaster preparedness: Barriers to and facilitators of willingness to respond. International Journal of Emergency Medicine, 5(1), 1-9.