Disasters are occurring more frequently and intensely, severely impeding progress towards sustainable development. Global agendas such as Human Security, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Reduction require global citizens to take concrete actions while living in one community.
As the primary healthcare providers to all communities, nurses are essential to achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Once a disaster strikes, access to routine medical care is complicated, and primary care in chaos is more unlimited. For more proactive, nursing should be used within the development and social science models rather than as a healthcare service to reduce the impact of disasters and strengthen policies to prepare for future natural disasters. There is a need to recognize the direct and indirect impacts of disasters on health and well-being, i.e. current and future risks. There is a need for health systems to move towards universal health coverage that can provide more essential services in uncertainty. Nurses should be more involved in community disaster management and preparedness discussions. There is a need for innovative and ongoing research, education, and practice in the community. It is required to restructure the focus of nursing to primary health care to maintain healthy communities and train nurses with communication skills to organize community cooperation across disciplines. To this end, disaster nursing includes experimental validation, pioneering activities, and exploration of ethics.
The outbreak of COVID-19 was prolonged like a sudden disaster, and with time, it turned into a contradictory term of routine emergency. There was a gradual shift from instantaneous initial response to long-term emergency care. Experiencing isolation and self-restraint, nursing in situations that are unnatural to human life is where the ethical judgment of the nursing profession comes into play, and nursing's contribution to preserving people's peace and dignity becomes essential. In COVID-19, healthcare providers recognize healthcare services in extreme situations, and global citizens understand the health care system and need a broad perspective in emergencies. It also reaffirmed the importance of ICN disaster nursing competency. Nursing science always needs to integrate and fuse the fields of treatment and care, that is, to combine and merge the natural and human sciences in a transdisciplinary manner. In the future, one of the lessons learned of COVID-19 is whether there is a need for a new paradigm of nursing science that further crosses disciplinary boundaries in today's uncertain by merging risk reduction and health promotion with a more global people-centered wellbeing.
No matter how new society and science technology may emerge, nurses must never forget that nursing is a fusion of art and science. With trans-disciplinary communities for disaster risk reduction towards the SDGs, nurses as global citizens should significantly improve care and social services in their countries and the international community.
About the author
Sakiko Kanbara, Founder of EpiNurse Incorporated, which won the Risk Award the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, and professor at University of Kochi, was mandated as a board member of the Japan Society of Disaster Nursing, member of Science Council of Japan. She received her BS and MS in Health Science from Kobe University and her Ph.D. from the Department of Public Health and International Health, Okayama University. She earned her place as a researcher at the Research Institute of Nursing Care for People and Community, WHO Collaboration Center for Nursing in Disasters and Health Emergency, University of Hyogo. She has developed new courses for Doctoral Degree Course for Disaster Nursing Global Leadership Program at the University of Kochi, Japan since 2012. Research interests include disaster nursing, primary healthcare, and health informatics. She received a Special Innovation Award from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School as a designer of Participatory Caring Map After Flooding in West Japan 2018.