A descriptive analysis of Montana nurse volunteers for the Montana nurse alert system
Danielson, Lianna Mary
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While nurse volunteers have long been an integral part of disaster response nationwide, their specific characteristics are not well understood. By understanding these characteristics, future recruiting efforts will enhance volunteerism and local disaster response capabilities. In an attempt to recruit nurse volunteers for all hazard emergency events in Montana, and register these volunteers into a Nurse Alert System (NAS) database which could then be utilized by appropriate disaster relief agencies (i.e. American Red Cross, public health departments), a "Montana Nurse Alert System Volunteer Registration" form was sent out with the 2004 Montana State Board of Nursing nurse license renewal forms. Information from the nurse volunteers who returned the forms (8.7% of Montana's licensed nurses) was analyzed by performing a descriptive secondary data analysis to determine characteristics of NAS volunteers and identify gaps in nurse volunteerism across the state. Descriptive factors examined were nurse volunteer characteristics by location (county of residence and in/out of state residence), type of license, area of volunteer interest, retiree status, and CPR certification. Results of the study indicated that advanced practice registered nurses (16% volunteerism) responded at higher rates than their registered nurse (8%) and licensed practical nurses (8%) counterparts. Retirees maintaining an active license represented 10% of the NAS cohort. Seventy-one percent of the NAS cohort indicated they possessed active CPR certification. In addition, response rates were slightly higher (12%) for all types of nurses in the smallest counties (<10,000 in the county) when compared with medium (10,000-20,000) (10%) and large (>20,000) counties (10%). Gaps were identified in five Montana counties where no NAS volunteers were found. Results suggested agreement with the Integrated Theory of Volunteer Work (Wilson & Musick, 1997) indicating volunteerism increases with human capital as described by higher education levels, income and functional health. Results also suggest agreement with characteristics of "innovators" and "early adopters" with NAS volunteers readily adopting the idea of the Nurse Alert System (Rogers, 2003).