Training conference teaches nurses about bioterrorism

How can nurses help protect the public against the threat of bioterrorism?

That’s a question on the minds of many health care professionals, especially since the nation has been put on a high alert for possible terrorist attacks now that the war in Iraq has begun.

And professional and student nurses in the Upper Cumberland region will have an opportunity to learn the answer to that question at a training conference at Tennessee Tech University’s Derryberry Hall Auditorium on April 10.

Sponsored by the TTU School of Nursing Foundation, TTU chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International and Upper Cumberland district nine of the Tennessee Nurses Association, the event will feature Mary Theresa (Terri) Urbano, former associate dean of Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing, as the keynote speaker.

" She also acted as associate director of the International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education while at Vanderbilt," said Bedelia Russell (MSN, RN, CNOR and CPNP), TTU assistant professor of nursing and an organizer of the event. "In that role, she helped to coordinate national efforts to increase (course) content related to mass casualty education in schools of nursing."

Urbano also worked with government officials and representatives of multiple universities to develop a national strategic plan for educating physicians, nurses, public health personnel and first responders about health care responses to bioterrorism.

Currently an officer in the Richard Urbano Associates consulting firm, she is the author of numerous professional articles, as well as the international bestseller "Preschool Children with Special Health Care Needs."

She is also writing a book about bioterrorism for the general public.

The TTU presentation will focus on identifying the characteristics of biological agents deemed most likely to be used in an attack, explaining the components of a coordinated health care response and outlining ways individual nurses can contribute to the fight against bioterrorism.

The activity has been approved by the TNA for 5.9 contact hours of continuing education, and certificates of completion will be distributed to successful participants following the conference.

Early registration for the event is open through Tuesday, April 1. The fee is $40 for members of TNA and STTI, and $50 for non-members.

If space permits, late registration will be available at the door, and the fee at that time will be $60.

Student nurses may attend the conference at no charge, but they must complete the early registration process.

For more information about the conference, call the TTU School of Nursing at 931/372-3203.

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