Advisor SeriesANA on the FrontlineCOVID Resource Center

Applying the phases of disaster response to COVID-19 recovery

By: By Marla J. Weston, PhD, RN, FAAN

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight. Nurses may think the mental and emotional stressors experienced at the height of the pandemic will abate and things will return to “normal.” But evidence from other disasters indicates that mental and emotional recovery will take time—as long as a year or two, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Phases of Disaster, 2020 ( What we know about disaster response is mainly from one-time dramatic events—such as hurricanes, floods, or man-made catastrophes—but nurses can apply this evidence to plan for recovery from the pandemic. The more nurses understand the disaster response, the more they can guide their own and others’ recovery. 

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