Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2010


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Kathleen Sekula

Committee Member

Alison Colbert

Committee Member

James Peltier


Disaster, Emergency Preparedness, Preparedness


Problem: Nurses are first responders to natural or man made disasters and increasing awareness of the central role nurses play in disaster response may prompt nurses to sharpen existing skills and develop new skills needed to competently respond to disaster events.

Purpose: To assess South Carolina nurses' learning needs by exploring their perceived knowledge of emergency preparedness in order to gain a better understanding of nurses' emergency preparedness learning needs and prioritize training efforts based on these needs.

Design and Methods: Boone's Programming Model's concept of planning provided the framework for this study which utilized a descriptive correlational design. The Emergency Preparedness Information Questionnaire was the instrument used to assess the learning needs of South Carolina nurses. Fifteen hundred potential participants were randomly selected from the South Carolina board of Nursing's database.

Results: Data from 207 eligible survey participants were analyzed and results indicated that study participants have a low level of self-reported emergency preparedness familiarity. Participants reported being most familiar with triage and least familiar with clinical decision making in epidemiology and biological agents. Most participants did not participate in emergency preparedness continuing education programs and participants who did participate in continuing education programs demonstrated a low level of self reported familiarity with emergency preparedness content. Findings also suggested that emergency preparedness content can be tailored to specific demographic variables allowing for a more concentrated focus on the content in which participant's self-reported being least familiar related to a specific demographic variable.

Study participants most preferred attending a one-day weekday, face to face/lecture/seminar training format for obtaining emergency preparedness content.

Implications: This information holds promise for the generation of effective continuing education and training programs. By prioritizing learning needs based on a needs assessment and accommodating learning preferences, a systematic and planned approach to educating South Carolina nurses about this extremely important topic can be implemented and thus significantly strengthen the capabilities of South Carolina nurses to respond competently to disaster events.