The University of Texas (UT) at Austin School of Nursing is committed to its role in preparing future nurses with foundation knowledge in all-hazard disaster preparedness, response and recovery. UT Austin School of Nursing is also committed to have trained and available volunteer faculty, students, and staff to the University or Austin community in the event an overwhelmed Austin community needs help in mass immunization, mass sheltering or other extraordinary conditions. Trained nurses save lives.
Through collaborative planning and leadership within the University of Texas and with the city of Austin, a memorandum of cooperation is in process to be signed to coordinate preparedness and response activities. School of Nursing has determined that its student and nurse volunteers can assist in staffing mass shelters or mass immunization clinics. Designated volunteer roles can include disseminating critical public health information to staff, students and faculty, providing psychological first aid and minor first aid, and providing clerks, medical screeners, triage personnel, medical personnel, clinical managers, and vaccinators. Public health nursing students, in particular, can assist in disease surveillance as well as assist in distributing public stocks of drugs and vaccines and prevent local disease transmission using a range of containment strategies.
The UT School of Nursing Disaster Preparedness web site was designed as a reference tool for classes at UT teaching concepts in emergency preparedness and disaster nursing. Emphasis is on safety and infection control, clinical decision making in times of emergencies and triage skills to recommend which clients can be discharged in a disaster situation. The web site also highlights the partnership efforts done by the city of Austin and the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. It offers the Disaster Mobilization Plan and along with the Memorandum of Cooperation with the City of Austin, as templates for other nursing schools that seek to collaborate with their city's or county's health department so scarce nursing resources are used effectively. Curriculum resources have been added to help other schools of nursing develop their disaster nursing education program.