Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Nursing

Advisor

Smith-Blair, Nan

Reader

McNeill, Charleen

Second Reader

Agana, Carol

Abstract

Despite years of training and experience, evidence suggests nurses report wide gaps in emergency competencies and disaster preparedness. Further, nurses report low levels of familiarity in competencies related to planning for disasters, implementing disaster guidelines, and assessing patients exposed to biological and chemical agents. This research sought to establish the self-reported level of emergency preparedness competencies of nurses in Northwest Arkansas, an area that faces a diverse set of potential disasters ranging from nuclear accidents to pandemic disease. Additionally, differences between of the level of preparedness by education level or work specialty were studied. The results are alarming in that the scores indicate a significant weakness in nurses’ emergency preparedness knowledge, regardless of education or work specialty. It is of great concern that nurses have low levels of familiarity with disaster response concepts. This research is congruent with extant literature demonstrating that nurses across the United States lack sufficient knowledge in the arena of emergency preparedness. In the event of a disaster, the community would be detrimentally impacted by this lack of vital knowledge, potentially degrading patient outcomes. The results of this survey, as well as previous research, demonstrate the need to improve the education of nurses so they may meet the demands of the population in the most urgent of situations.