Enhancing Child Health and Welfare Following Disasters and Public Health Emergencies in Schools and University Health Centers.
Our nation’s families trust schools to protect the health and welfare of their children while in the educational setting. This task has become increasingly difficult to accomplish given the multitude of hazards that threaten our schools and the people in them on a daily basis. The frequency and intensity of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and floods is increasing. Human-made disaster events such as active shooters, bomb threats, and other acts of terrorism are persistent challenges for preparedness and response and have been in the light of media attention with increasing frequency in the past several years. The role of the nurse working in a school or university health center as a member of the disaster response team is critical to the successful management of disasters.
More than 50 million children were enrolled in over 98,000 public elementary and secondary schools in 2014 and 21 million students were enrolled in a college or university.1 Faced with emergencies ranging from active shooter situations to fires, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and pandemic influenza; school-based nurses must maintain a level of situational
awareness and readiness to respond to situations that threaten our nation’s children. Many of
these emergencies occur with little to no warning. Therefore, it is critical for educational institutions and the nurses who work with them to plan ahead in order to help ensure the safety and general welfare of all members of the campus community.
Pediatr Neonatal Nurs Open J. 2015; 2(3): 75-84. doi: 10.17140/PNNOJ-2-113