Where rural local public health departments do exist, many operate with small budgets and limited staffing.
Similarly, many rural hospitals face their own financial challenges and resource constraints.
The results of this survey, as well as previous research, demonstrate the need to improve the education of nurses so they may meet the demands of the population in the most urgent of situations.
When emergencies happen in rural communities, especially disasters that are severe or prolonged, the demands on local response agencies and healthcare facilities can quickly consume available resources.
This research sought to establish the self-reported level of emergency preparedness competencies of nurses in Northwest Arkansas, an area that faces a diverse set of potential disasters ranging from nuclear accidents to pandemic disease.
Additionally, differences between of the level of preparedness by education level or work specialty were studied.Disasters have complex effects, whether they are natural or man-made, and can occur without warning.Rural communities can deal more effectively with large-scale emergencies by planning and preparing for emergencies before they happen.To find your state emergency management agency, see the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) listing of Emergency Management Agencies.Your state agency can direct you to county, tribal, and local emergency management agencies.You can narrow your search of available courses by rural, course format, date, selected public health competencies and capabilities, and more.To be well prepared, it is important to connect with emergency management officials both at the county and state level.As a result, rural local public health departments and hospitals may lack the capabilities to respond adequately to emergencies, leaving communities vulnerable.Rural residents can collectively decide to implement a whole community approach to emergency preparedness and assign community members' tasks and responsibilities based on knowledge, strengths, and abilities.Examples of these groups can include local and state health departments, primary care associations, behavioral health facilities and agencies, clinics, long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, law enforcement officials, first responders, and disaster relief agencies.The Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC) offers rural specific training and resources for emergency responders.