Understanding nursing's role in health systems response to large-scale radiologic disasters

Tener Goodwin Veenema, Clifton P. Thornton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Guidance for the optimal management of patient surge after a radiologic disaster is limited and rarely taught in schools of nursing or staff development/continuing education programs. To prepare and respond to this low-frequency, high-impact event, nurses require a substantive body of knowledge and skill set on which to base both public health and acute care preparedness and response efforts. Hospital and public health emergency management response plans may be insufficient to accommodate the patient surge, health system burden, and the fear and uncertainty that characterize these types of events. Lessons learned from Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accidents can inform nurse preparedness efforts by providing information on what can be expected throughout the disaster life cycle of these catastrophic events. Nurse involvement may potentially include site response; the establishment of community reception centers for population screening and monitoring; decontamination; shelter management; and the psychosocial support of victims, families, co-workers, and the community impacted by the event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Radiology Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Disaster
  • Health systems response
  • Nuclear
  • Nurses
  • Radiation
  • Roles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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