The International Council of Nurses (ICN; Geneva, Switzerland) and the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM; Madison, Wisconsin USA) joined together in 2014 to review the use of the ICN Framework of Disaster Nursing Competencies. The existing ICN Framework (version 1.10; dated 2009) formed the starting point for this review. The key target audiences for this process were members of the disaster nursing community concerned with pre-service education for professional nursing and the continuing education of practicing professional nurses. To minimize risk in the disaster nursing practice, competencies have been identified as the foundation of evidence-based practice and standard development. A Steering Committee was established by the WADEM Nursing Section to discuss how to initiate a review of the ICN Framework of Disaster Nursing Competencies. The Steering Committee then worked via email to develop a survey to send out to disaster/emergency groups that may have nurse members who work/respond in disasters. Thirty-five invitations were sent out with 20 responses (57%) received. Ninety-five percent of respondents knew of the ICN Framework of Disaster Nursing Competencies, with the majority accessing these competencies via the Internet. The majority of those who responded said that they make use of the ICN Framework of Disaster Nursing Competencies with the most common use being for educational purposes. Education was done at a local, national, and international level. The competencies were held in high esteem and valued by these organizations as the cornerstone of their disaster education, and also were used for the continued professional development of disaster nursing. However, respondents stated that five years on from their development, the competencies also should include the psychosocial elements of nurses caring for themselves and their colleagues. Additionally, further studies should explore if there are other areas related to the disaster nursing practice (in addition to psychosocial concerns) that may be missing or not fully developed. Finally, the authors of this report recommend that future research explore how the ICN Framework of Disaster Nursing Competencies do or do not assist in maintaining best practices in this field and improve outcomes for victims of disaster.
- International Council of Nurses