Nursing Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness entails several steps that are undertaken to ensure the safety of individuals or communities before, during, and after an emergency have happened or a natural disaster. The steps are undertaken to ensure the safety of individuals and are especially important and necessary both in nature as well as in human-made disasters. Healthcare professionals have a role to play in emergency preparedness; however, healthcare workers are guided by the healthcare policies that are formulated specially to address this issue. The health policies offer nursing roles during the occurrence of an emergency. This helps during emergency cases as the health professionals are guided by the health policies on the necessary actions and steps to address the emergency and mitigate any loss that might occur as a result of the crisis (Staebler et al., 2017). Health policy outlines the different training that nurse practitioners need to undergo to be able to respond to different kinds of emergencies. This training helps identify priority areas in emergency preparedness hence ensuring that the nurse practitioners can react appropriately to an emergency when and if it occurs. The training is an essential part of emergency preparedness because it provides nursing practitioners the right skills to respond to an emergency. In emergency preparedness, the public policy outlines the steps to be followed by nurse practitioners in the occurrence of an emergency. Therefore, this is a quick guide that saves nurse practitioners time and effort in determining which action to undertake in the event of an emergency (Annesley, 2019). This also boosts the nurse practitioners’ confidence as they undertake the different duties in responding to an emergency because the public policy offers the right guidance and direction. The nurse practitioners can demonstrate their knowledge and skills in emergency preparedness as outlined in the public policy. Through the health policy, nurse practitioners influence nursing practice standards and nursing procedures to assure the quality of care. In emergency preparedness, the nurse practitioners, therefore, through the public policy, ensure that the appropriate tactics and mechanisms are put to ensure the health department is always well prepared to respond to any emergency case. With their knowledge and skills in emergency cases, the nurse practitioners can help formulate the right health policies that will effectively address emergency preparedness. The health policy can significantly and positively influence the nursing practice in emergency preparedness. Through the outlined actions that the health policy recommends the nurse practitioners undertake in emergency preparedness, the role of the nurses is determined by the policy (Staebler et al., 2017). This entails the techniques that the nurse practitioners are to use in responding to emergencies. Therefore, it is a guide that influences the practices that nurse practitioners engage in when addressing emergencies. The public policy considers the interests of the general population when formulating policies. This means that it ensures the best policies are formulated to put the right measures for emergency preparedness (Cordova et al., 2018). Public policies or emergency preparedness policy a significant role in influencing the role of nurse practitioners in this field. Through their guidance, nurse practitioners can prepare for emergencies. The policies help in developing strategies for responding to emergencies before during and after they have occurred Nursing Emergency Preparedness  2 Hospitals rely on a stalwart nursing workforce to ensure that they can effectively respond to a public health emergency, such as the recent coronavirus pandemic. In fact, as a consequence of this pandemic, there is a looming global shortage of nurses in the United States and the rest of the world. This is an obvious indicator that public health emergency preparedness can be challenging and even the U.S. does not have a comprehensive national strategy to address it. Therefore, it is critical for public health policies to focus on factors, such as not being aware of institutional plans and relevant emergency drills and exercises, which are responsible for their lack of preparedness. Such policies need to be implemented in various healthcare settings, especially hospitals, to address the lack of public health emergency preparedness of their nursing workforce. As a result, the nursing workforce is likely to become more assertive and prepared to respond more effectively to public health emergencies. No doubt, the recently growing nursing shortage has somewhat been a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not the only factor that has contributed to it. Plenty of nurses have either retired from the profession or have quit because of adverse work environments and finding more rewarding alternative employment opportunities elsewhere. Another reason that the U.S. nursing workforce has not managed to expand is because most of teaching faculty at nursing schools is close to or at the age of retirement (Richardson, 2011). Moreover, funding and infrastructure are not adequate enough as well (Cagliuso, 2014). Amidst this, the need for health care has also been rising, especially during this pandemic. Hence, there needs to be an annual increase in graduating nurse practitioners in order to ensure emergency preparedness and meet these growing demands. Consequently, due to this growing demand and shortage, nurses have had to occupy multiple roles, which have also led to an overestimation of the available, supplemental workforce. Some policy efforts have been attempted to address these issues, such as enabling nurses to practice in multiple states under mutual recognition of licensure and a wide range of laws to protect volunteer health practitioners (Sauer et al., 2014). However, these efforts have not proven to be sufficient, perhaps due to not having been tested throughout the nation. Another reason behind the ineffectiveness of existing policy efforts is the lack of funding. Moreover, they do not emphasize on expanding nursing education, faculty development (Penn, Wilson, & Rosseter, 2008) and the size of the workforce itself to meet the estimated demand. Therefore, in order to be truly effective any healthcare policy would need to have adequate funding (Cagliuso, 2014) and scope in order to improve both the level of education and the total number of nurses. Considering how complicated patient care has become, especially during this time of pandemic, nurses must now possess the relevant expertise and knowledge in order to meet the rapidly growing demand. Increasing the number of nurses with a baccalaureate degree will automatically increase the number of advanced-practice nurses and the teaching faulty too. In inadequate public health emergency preparedness is a consequence of the shortage of the nursing workforce. Additionally, hospitals often rely on supplement nurse practitioners, who are also in limited numbers because of the shortage. By addressing this shortage, especially by investing in nursing education and infrastructure, a healthcare policy could effectively ensure nurses of the future will be well-prepared for any public health emergencies like the present coronavirus pandemic.   References Cagliuso, N. V. (2014). Stakeholders’ experiences with US hospital emergency preparedness: Part 1. J Bus Contin Emer Plan, 8(2), 152–168. Penn, B. K., Wilson, L. D., & Rosseter, R. (2008). Transitioning From Nursing Practice to a Teaching Role. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 13(3). Richardson, K. A. (2011). Journal of Global Health Care Systems, 1(1), 1–16. Sauer, L. M., Catlett, C., Tosatto, R., & Kirsch, T. D. (2014). The Utility of and Risks Associated With the Use of Spontaneous Volunteers in Disaster Response: A Survey. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 8(1), 65–69. https://doi.org/10.1017/dmp.2014.12

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