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Preparing nurses to respond in times of disaster study

September 26, 2012

Natural or man-made disasters and public health emergencies occur every day, with nurses constituting the largest sector of the healthcare workforce that will be on the front lines of a disaster response. CERMUSA is conducting a research protocol to help strengthen nursing curriculum to support humanitarian assistance and disaster preparedness competencies.

CERMUSA researchers consulted an advisory panel comprised of subject matter experts, key federal stakeholders, and practitioners to compile a comprehensive list of survey questions to address these concerns. The survey was developed using research software and distributed electronically to more than eight hundred nursing faculty located throughout the United States. To date, approximately 185 individuals, or 22 percent, have completed the survey.

Through this research initiative, CERMUSA aims to:

  • Identify and validate evidence-based nursing competencies for disaster response
  • Identify the educational curriculum to support these competencies
  • Identify and validate continuing nursing education and training curriculum that supports evidence-based nursing competencies for disaster response.


Based on the data generated from this study, CERMUSA anticipates the dissemination of nursing competencies for civilian and military response. The results of this study may provide evidence for deploying other emerging learning technologies as tools for future phases of this effort. The results may provide key insights into competencies required of the broader medical department staff and provide the basis for enhancing inter-professional and team-based training.

If you are interested in participating in or learning more about this study, contact Brenda L. Guzic, MA,MHSc, BSW, RN, assistant director for telehealth and project principle investigator, at 814-472-3389 or bguzic@cermusa.francis.edu.