The Global Disaster Nursing (GDN) Graduate Program
Upcoming event September 27, 2012 at the Howard Baker Center, 4pm. Harvard scholar Dr. Frederick ‘Skip’ Burkle presents a lecture on “Future Humanitarian Crises: Challenges for Policy, Practice, and Public Health”. Free and open to all
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) College of Nursing now offers an innovative graduate program in Global Disaster Nursing (GDN) to prepare nurse leaders for practice, scholarship, education and policy in natural & man-made disasters, large-scale public health emergencies, and humanitarian relief. Training, application, and evaluation of skills and knowledge in disaster scenarios are cornerstones of the GDN program; and combined classroom learning, simulation exercises, and fieldwork experiences provide students with exceptional hands-on learning opportunities. Please download our brochure for more information.
|The GDN program trains nurses to:
+ Plan for mass casualty events
+ Manage organizational aspects of disasters, global health, and security incidents
+ Mitigate the effects of threats
+ Communicate with and work as integral parts of local, state, federal, and international response
+ Oversee and provide direct patient care and triage
+ Teach disaster preparedness in community and educational settings
+ Develop, implement, and evaluate policy
+ Contribute knowledge to the field of global disaster studies through research and scholarship
The GDN program offers MSN, PhD, and DNP degrees as well as a Post-Master’s Certificate. Part-time
scheduling and online learning options are available for some programs. Each degree requires different and/or
additional credit hours. Please contact Program Director Dr. Susan Speraw (ssperaw@utk.
edu) for more information.
Post-Master’s Certificate = 22 credit hours over 3.5 semesters
MSN = 41 credit hours over 4 semesters
PhD = 80 credit hours, can be completed 3 years of full-time study
DNP = new degree option, please call for more information
The application process has two steps: prospective students must complete an application for both The UTK Graduate School and The UTK College of Nursing. Further details can be found on their websites.
+ BSN from an accredited school
+ Current Licensure
+ Competitive GPA
+ GRE scores recent within the last 5 years
+ 3 credit hours of graduate level statistics
+ TOEFL score of 550 or higher (if applicable)
The GDN core curriculum provides a comprehensive examination of critical issues in disaster response including management strategies, policies, ethics, and world affairs.
GDN students participate in training exercises and receive certifications in:
+ Basic & Advanced Disaster Life Support™
+ Haz-Mat emergency response
+ Vulnerability assessment
+ Capstone disaster simulation
Online and off-site certification courses include:
+Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- National response and incident management
+ Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Radiation Emergency Assistance Center / Training Site
- Radiation emergency medicine training
GDN students are required to complete a domestic or international field placement. Opportunities for individual research and group projects continue to expand according to the students’ interests. In the past, GDN students have practiced and/or conducted research in many places around the world. Projects have included:
+ Travelled to Haiti to provide primary healthcare in rural field clinics and villages
+ Studied the long term effects of radiation on Hiroshima survivors in Japan
+ Worked with Doctors Without Borders to provide mental health services to women in Papua New Guinea
+ Conducted projects with the national office of the American Red Cross in Washington D.C.
+ Participated in a research study of disaster preparedness with the US Dept. of Health and Human Services in Washington D.C.
+ Evaluated healthcare delivery in villages impacted by the 2008 Szechuan earthquake in China with Global Health Outreach International
The GDN program has had many partnerships with local, state, federal, and international agencies to provide GDN students with specialized training and field experience. Some of our current & past partners include: Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Radiation Effects Research Foundation (Japan); US Space & Rocket Center; and Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti; and many more.
The GDN faculty have diverse backgrounds and research interests. In addition to the College of Nursing faculty, the GDN program hosts guest lecturers who are experts in various fields relating to disaster prevention and response.
Susan Speraw, PhD, RN
Phone: (865) 974-7586
College of Nursing, Room 153
Dr. Speraw is a nurse and clinical psychologist specializing in child/adolescent/family health, and has worked with military families, refugees, and vulnerable populations in the US, Haiti, and Japan. She coordinates the program and lectures in disaster nursing, global issues in healthcare delivery, research methods and ethics.
Assistant Clinical Professor
Mary Nypaver, PhD, RN
Phone: (865) 974-7621
College of Nursing, Room 154
Dr. Nypaver is a critical care nurse with expertise in disaster education using a variety of instructional methods and assuring quality in service delivery. She organizes certification courses and lectures in disaster nursing, global health and security threats.
Moriah McArthur, MSc
Phone: (865) 974-7621
College of Nursing, Room 154
Ms. McArthur specializes in reproductive and sexual health issues in developing countries and has conducted research in Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, and India. She arranges global field placement opportunities for GDN students and lectures in tropical medicine and current global health issues.
The GDN program’s flexibility allows students to pursue research that truly interests them. Past
students have conducted research on an array of topics relating to different kinds of disasters. Projects
+ The experience of faith-based disaster responders during Hurricane Katrina
+ A qualitative study of atomic bomb survivors
+ Military nurses’ experiences of disaster response
+ A comparison of two approaches to teaching disaster life support to health professionals
+ Health adaptation and forced migration among Iraqi and Afghan refugees
+ Self transcendence and spiritual wellbeing of participants in short-term healthcare missions
+ Situational awareness in multi-casualty incidents
+ An analysis of social media messages after the 2010 Haitian earthquake