HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS and public health officers are considered by many to be the first line of emergency defense with a goal to deliver an acceptable quality of care while saving as many lives as possible. Providing health care during a disaster presents many unusual challenges, including working in an uncertain environment, managing scarce resources (human and material), safety risks, and caring for patients at their most vulnerable time. Because resources are insufficient, creativity and improvisation are required. To be successful in a disaster, nurses must be appropriately trained to provide the right response. Yet, currently there are no accepted, standardized requirements for disaster nursing training or continuing education. The lack of a single source of authority or an approved body of emergency preparedness content or curriculum has resulted in unfocused training and educational efforts. As a further consequence of this lack of educational consensus, preparedness often is inconsistent and lacks integration between healthcare systems. EDUCATIONAL NEEDS Education and training constitute key components of disaster preparedness. As early as 2002, the American Nurses Association (ANA) issued a position statement outlining the responsibilities of nurses in the event of a catastrophic event.
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