UVA School of Nursing Prepares Students to Help in Communities After Disasters

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Nursing students heard from a panelist from Nicaragua on Oct. 12 Nursing students heard from a panelist from Nicaragua on Oct. 12

When disaster strikes, University of Virginia’s School of Nursing wants to teach nurses how they can best help communities that are struggling to recover.

This program is thanks to an $87,000 grant from the Jefferson Trust.

The presentation on Friday, October 12, is part of a 10-day series to share insight and lessons learned.

A panelist from UVA Nursing School and Bluefields, Nicaragua, spoke to a crowd of nursing students and interested community members about climate change and how the Nicaragua community bounced back from a hurricane 20 years ago.

Organizers say it's not just being prepared on a clinical response level, but also understanding what community resilience is and how communities can be more prepared for disasters.

“Because of nurses’ unique role in being able to provide direct one-on-one immediate response, combined with the supports we're able to put in place by advocating for communities, I think that we're a critical member of the team who responds when a disaster strikes,” Emma Mitchell, assistant professor and co-director of global initiatives at UVA School of Nursing.

The nursing school says its role with the grant is to integrate that model of community resilience into nursing education.

Its hope is that students will not only learn the global examples from Nicaragua, but also resilience in communities like Charlottesville, their hometowns, and where students end up as a nurse.