Discussion: Disaster Planning
Scenario: You are the PHN working at your local public health department in the nursing division. It is the middle of summer, and you have been receiving telephone calls asking about “the flu season” since the vaccine wasn’t accurate in predicting the strains of influenza that affected your community last year, and many people contracted the virus. Business and community leaders are concerned because they don’t want a repeat performance of last year. You have been asked to develop some solutions to community concerns. Select two of the scenarios and respond to the questions that are posed in each. As you consider the scenarios you have selected, think about the following considerations as you develop your responses.
- Which agencies are available to lead and assist in the disaster response?
- What resources are available in your community?
- How might resources be used most efficiently?
- Are there any gaps that may pose a problem?
- Identify potential strengths and weaknesses in the community
Scenario 1: The numbers of influenza victims has reached 25% of the population. Many of the large grocery stores in your community are short-staffed due to employee sick calls. Shelves are bare since many of the workers are home with the flu, and even if the storeowner could stock the shelves, cashiers are home sick, too. In-store pharmacists are struggling to keep their pharmacies open to serve the public. Consumables like bread and milk are in short supply since many delivery drivers are home sick. What two actions can you recommend to these storeowners so that your community doesn’t suffer?
Scenario 2: With 25% of the total population sick with influenza, your hospital is short of staff at a time of very high census. While many of the administrative positions are unaffected by illness, at least 40% of the nurses have called in sick or are at home caring for very sick children. Name two recommendations that you can give your hospital administration to keep their services available for the community
Support your response with references from the professional nursing literature.
Notes Initial Post: This should be a 3-paragraph (at least 350 words) response. Be sure to use evidence from the readings and include in-text citations. Utilize essay-level writing practice and skills, including the use of transitional material and organizational frames. Avoid quotes; paraphrase to incorporate evidence into your own writing. A reference list is required. Use the most current evidence (usually ≤ 5 years old).
Expert Solution Preview
Disaster planning is an essential responsibility of the public health sector for preventing and responding to any unexpected event that may harm the community. As a PHN in a nursing division of a local public health department, I have been asked to develop solutions to community concerns regarding the flu season outbreak. This essay will discuss two different scenarios and provide recommendations to address community concerns by using available resources, identifying strengths and weaknesses of the community and the agencies that can possibly help in disaster response.
The first scenario describes a situation where 25% of the community population is affected by influenza, causing shortages of staff in grocery stores and delivery services. The store owners are struggling to keep the shelves stocked with needed goods, as many of the employees are home sick. In-store pharmacists are also dealing with the lack of available staff to serve the public. The two actions that can be recommended to store owners to overcome these problems are:
1) Providing flu vaccines to all employees who deal with customers. Encouraging employees to practice good hygiene and frequent handwashing minimizes the spread of infections. This can help to prevent the flu from spreading among staff, reducing the number of employee sick calls.
2) Hiring additional temporary staff to fill the gaps in the workforce. Community colleges, employment agencies, and local newspapers should be utilized to advertise these job openings. The additional staff should be trained adequately on the store’s procedures, and their salaries should reflect the economic importance of their work during the flu season.
In the second scenario, the hospital is short of staff due to the flu outbreak. Nurses who provide essential services to the community are affected, causing immense pressure on the administration to maintain the necessary level of care for patients. The two recommendations that I suggest in this situation are:
1) Cross-training healthcare professionals across different departments to handle the sudden absence of key staff. This provides a ready pool of personnel to help manage an influx of patients, minimizing the impact of short staffing.
2) Offering special incentives to healthcare professionals who volunteer to work extra shifts or do double duty. This can help to reduce the burden of healthcare professionals who are working long hours or are under pressure to manage high patient loads.
Disaster planning is an vital part of community preparedness, allowing effective responses to unexpected events. As discussed above, disaster planning requires a coordinated and thoughtful approach to identifying and addressing potential issues in the time of need. Effective disaster management strategies should take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the community and utilize all available resources to manage the situation effectively. By taking the actions mentioned in the above scenarios, store owners and hospital administrators can effectively manage and limit the impact of influenza outbreaks.