1. Earl, Catherine E. DPA, RN

Article Content

Recent terrorist attacks have tested the mettle of the entire public health community. Biological agents that cause anthrax, small pox, and other diseases may be used as bioterroristic weapons. The potential for reintroduction of eradicated diseases prompts us to consider the context of our curriculum. To prepare students at Grand Valley State University, Kirkhof School of Nursing to address these emergent health topics, the curriculum now includes education about reemerging infections and biological agents used for terror. As is always the concern, we wondered how we could add content to an already full program.


To respond to the threats of bioterroristic agents and reemerging infections, a "mini-lecture series" design, with 20-minute-per-topic lectures, was developed to educate our nursing students. This series of 4 lectures is held between class sessions for seniors in community health nursing. Students are welcome to bring their lunches and participate in discussion. In addition, discussion is encouraged through the online use of "Blackboard" where questions and concerns can be explored on an ongoing basis.


The objectives for the sessions include: relating the nurse's role in r ecognizing symptoms of reemerging infections and bioterroristic agents; differentiating clinical presentations; and describing precautions to take for suspicion of bioterroristic agents. Through the work of nursing faculty and through educating students, the leadership needed for nursing graduates to guide action when catastrophe strikes is now fostered through our nursing curriculum with a "take 20" approach.