Disaster nursing: a descriptive survey of Australian undergraduate nursing curricula

Kim Usher, Lidia Mayner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reports the results of a descriptive study undertaken to explore the disaster nursing content and related clinical in Australian undergraduate nursing curricula. A descriptive, survey approach was selected. Thirty-nine schools of nursing across Australia were contacted and invited to complete the survey. The mailed survey was self-administered by the participants. A response rate of 49% (n= 19) was achieved. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics to produce a description of the disaster content and clinical practice requirements. Results indicate that very few Schools include this content area in their curricula and those that do are mainly theoretical and not practise-based. There appears to be some interest from those who do not include this area into their curricula to consider it for future curricula, but still, interest is low compared to the number of nursing schools around Australia.The major conclusions indicate: (i) the inclusion of disaster nursing content and practice in Australian undergraduate nursing curricula is negligible and there is limited interest in addressing this issue in the near future; (ii) little importance is afforded disaster nursing as an undergraduate area of study; (iii) nursing students register with little or no knowledge of the area of disaster nursing, yet nurses are the major professional body to be called upon to respond when a disaster occurs; (iv) major impetus from registration boards is required if disaster nursing is to be included into future undergraduate nursing curricula.International organisations such as WHO and ICN have identified and criticised undergraduate nursing courses for their failure to adequately prepare graduates to participate in disaster relief work. Current Australian nursing graduates have limited capacity to respond efficiently and effectively when disasters occur. Further research is needed to adequately address this issue.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-80
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralasian Emergency Nursing Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011


    • Disaster nursing
    • Nursing education
    • Undergraduate nursing curricula


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