Interview: Sandra Schoenfisch, R.N., Ph.D.

We interviewed nursing consultant, Sandra Schoenfisch, R.N., Ph.D., to find out more about succeeding in today’s world as a public health professional. Working with Florida’s Bureau of Preparedness and Response, she offers greater insights regarding the roles and issues surrounding nursing practice, especially when it comes to preparedness planning and response responsibilities.

“Everyone needs to have a personal preparedness plan,” she says. For public health professionals and OMP participants, this advice should come as no surprise. Yet, 51% of the U.S. population still does not have a preparedness plan. “Preparedness is part of the new normal, not something that only happens during hurricane season or a single event,” says Schoenfisch. “Being prepared has implications for all programs and divisions.”

TIP: Part of the mentorship experience should include learning more about your role in preparedness and response. Discussions may lead to greater development of your professional development action plan, too (PDAP).

When asked about the ‘must-have’ skills worth having in order to succeed in her department, Schoenfisch simply states, “Curiosity, the ability to synthesize information, a desire to learn, adaptability, flexibility, common sense, nimble thinking, and a sense of humor.” The mentorship experience is designed to help participants learn about the “unwritten” rules of a department or organization. Sometimes having hands-on experience or shadowing a professional can prove meaningful when seeing how different roles, entities, issues are inter-connected.

From Craig Fugate’s (FEMA) Twitter Feed

Part of preparedness also includes being ‘prepared’ for a successful career. Knowing about trending topics in your field is one way to get ahead of the curve and address future issues early. Currently in the area of preparedness and response, many discussions surrounding social media, its implications and uses (both positively and negatively) are ‘hot topics’. Schoenfisch also adds to the list “emerging health problems, needs of people during events, and Functional Needs Shelter Services.”

A big thanks to Sandra Schoenfisch for her tips and advice. Click here to learn more about Florida’s Bureau of Preparedness and Response.

If any OMP participant has questions or other suggestions, post them in the comments sections under this post (online) or email the program coordinator


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