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Monday, February 27, 2006

Disaster preparedness for school nurses

The school nurse can be a key contributor to ensuring the safety of every person in the event of disaster situations, from natural disasters like hurricanes to manmade ones like terrorism.

Before a disaster occurs, school nurses can serve in community-wide planning groups that assess the school’s ability to manage a disaster and identify the disaster preparedness for students with special needs.

During the disaster, the nurse can become an important counselor to students, families and staff and may be involved directly with the triage of victims and provide direct hands-on care.

After the disaster, the school nurse can provide support for teams working with students, parents and school personnel who are trying to deal with reactions to the disaster.

Schools have a legal responsibility to care for students and staff in an emergency or disaster and school nurses should understand their important role in the response.