Improving rural disaster response preparedness

Alisha A. Betka, Martha Dewey Bergren, Judith L. Rowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Disasters happen in all communities and negatively impact the health and safety of populations if not well managed. Rural health organizations face greater challenges when implementing emergency preparedness policies and need unique resources to help ensure the health of their communities. The purpose of this article is to describe the development and evaluation of an agricultural simulation scenario designed for rural health organizations. Methods: The agricultural disaster scenario was developed after determining the desired content domains. Forty students from nursing, medicine, public health, and social work participated in a functional simulation using the scenario. Outcomes were measured using a pre–post measurement with one cohort design. Data were analyzed using paired-samples t-tests. Results: Students reported a 30% increase in self-confidence, 38% increase in disaster competence, and 19% increase in interprofessional collaboration competence after the simulation. Statistically significant increases in student scores were noted on all surveys across professions. Conclusion: The agricultural disaster simulation is a valid scenario to use for disaster preparation using emergency operations plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)856-861
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • disaster response
  • emergency preparedness
  • rural health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing(all)


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