The Role of the Nurse in Emergency Preparedness

An official position statement of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nursing Approved by the AWHONN Board of Directors

Nurses serve a critical role in emergency preparedness at the local, state, and national levels through planning, community and consumer education, and direct care provided during disasters. The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) encourages nurses to participate actively in all phases of disaster preparedness and response within their institutions and communities. Within their institutions, they should engage in hazards assessment and planning prior to a disaster, respond during a crisis, and assist with mitigating hazards throughout the recovery phase. Because AWHONN members provide care primarily to women and infants, AWHONN is especially concerned with the needs of these vulnerable populations prior to, during, and after a disaster. Women’s health and neonatal nurses should be well educated to respond to the physical, mental, nutritional, and other health care needs of women and infants during disasters. Nurses should also make a plan for themselves and their families in the event of an emergency

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