Public health emergencies: nurses' recommendations for effective actions

AAOHN J. 2006 Aug;54(8):347-53. doi: 10.1177/216507990605400802.


During a public health emergency such as an influenza pandemic or a bioterrorism attack, nurses may be at risk for exposure to lethal infectious diseases when caring for victims. The aim of this study was to identify interventions nurses believe will support their ability to cope during public health emergencies. A qualitative research design was used with 33 nurses from designated bioterrorism-receiving hospitals. Nurses recommended adequate protective equipment, education, drills, accessible information and available content experts, and available administrators. Other recommendations included increased security to protect nurses, emotional and physical support, communication with nurses' families, and commitment from institutions to care for ill or injured nurses. Preparations for emergencies should include assessments of nurses' and other stakeholders' concerns. These nurses proposed specific measures to improve safety, reduce anxiety, increase trust in hospitals, and provide physical and emotional support.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Bioterrorism / prevention & control
  • Communication
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration*
  • Emergencies / nursing
  • Family
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Minnesota
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Protective Clothing
  • Public Health*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Safety Management / organization & administration
  • Security Measures
  • Social Support