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The Essential Trait of Nurses During a Disaster

Tyer-Viola, Lynda A. PhD, RNC, FAAN

The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: July/September 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 201–204
doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000416

Natural and man-made disasters have increased dramatically over time, requiring healthcare systems to develop and sustain emergency preparedness plans. Nurse leaders and frontline clinical nurses are often the first and long-term responders during these traumatic events. Emergency preparedness requires nurses exceed expectations beyond the daily level of performance in caring for patients in the presence of obstacles. A disaster creates additional burdens on nurses psychosocially due to work and home demands. Despite this adversity, nurses are able to work under harsh conditions and make critical clinical decisions. This commitment is often described as being resilient. A deeper reason why nurses perform during disasters is that they possess the personality trait known as grit. Grit motivates them to endure challenges and be successful over time. The critical attributes of grit are passion and perseverance. Cultivating grit among nurse leaders and clinical nurses is essential to sustaining interest in emergency preparedness and ensuring the needs of patients and caregivers are met when a disaster occurs.

Texas Children's Hospital Pavilion for Women, Houston and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Corresponding Author: Lynda A. Tyer-Viola, PhD, RNC, FAAN, Texas Children's Hospital Pavilion for Women, 6651 Main St E032.32, Houston TX 77030 (

Disclosure: The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Each author has indicated that he or she has met the journal's requirements for Authorship.

Submitted for publication: February 6, 2019; accepted for publication: April 3, 2019.

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