Aim: This review explored peer-reviewed publications that measure nurses’ preparedness for disaster response. Background: The increasing frequency of disasters worldwide necessitates nurses to adequately prepare to respond to disasters to mitigate the negative consequences of the event on the affected population. Despite growing initiatives to prepare nurses for any disasters, evidence suggests they are under prepared for disaster response. Methods: This is a systematic review of scientific articles conducted from 2006 to 2016 on nurses’ preparedness for disasters. SCOPUS, MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL and PsychINFO were the primary databases utilized for search of literature. Keywords used in this review were as follows: ‘emergency’, ‘disaster’, ‘disaster preparedness’, ‘disaster competencies’, ‘disaster nursing’, ‘disaster role’ and ‘nurse’. Seventeen (17) articles were selected for this review. Findings: Factors that increase preparedness for disaster response include previous disaster response experience and disaster-related training. However, it is widely reported that nurses are insufficiently prepared and do not feel confident responding effectively to disasters. Conclusion: The findings of this review contribute to a growing body of knowledge regarding disaster preparedness in nurses and have implications for academia, hospital administration and nursing educators. The findings of this review provide evidence that could be used by nurse educators and nurse administrators to better prepare nurses for disaster response. Implications for nursing and health policy: The findings from this review place an emphasis on hospitals to implement policies to address lack of preparedness among their employees. Furthermore, this review highlights the benefit of further research and provision of well-grounded disaster exercises that mimic actual events to enhance the preparedness of the nursing workforce.