Date of Conferral
Janice M. Long
The National Response Plan (NRP) was developed to provide support during national disasters. The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Corps is 1 of the 7 uniform services and contributes to the mission of the (NRP). The USPHS Commissioned Corps (CC) Officers may be deployed for national disasters at any time and they must be ready to deploy. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to explore the lived experiences of USPHS CC Nurse Officers who have deployed in response to disasters in the United States. This study addressed the gap in literature related to the deployment perception of USPHS Nurse Officers and may lead to an increase in deployment readiness. The lifeworld theory was used to guide the study that addressed the question of how nurse officers of the USPHS CC described their clinical nursing experience while deployed. Selection criteria used to recruit the 10 participants included USPHS Nurse Officers in non-clinical billets that have deployed in support of hurricane responses in 2017. In-depth interviews were conducted, and data were organized and analyzed using NVivo analysis software. The themes that emerged from the data included characteristics of nurse officers, clinical preparedness, training needs, challenges, and lessons learned. USPHS Nurse Officers perceived other nurse officers as resourceful, skillful educators, felt comfortable and prepared during the deployment, recommended additional training to benefit future Corps deployments, and identified physical and emotional challenges they experienced. These findings may assist in promoting positive social change within nursing practice of the USPHS Nurse Officers as it may enhance and improve readiness training, and USPHS policies for deployment readiness.