What was the role of nurses during the 2011 Great East Earthquake of Japan? An integrative review of the Japanese literature.

Mayumi Kako, Jamie Ranse, Aiko Yamamoto, Paul Arbon

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: An earthquake and tsunami hit the east coast of Japan on March 11, 2011. Nurses were actively involved in the health response to this disaster and, subsequently, many authors have reported on the role nurses played in these efforts in Japanese nursing professional journals.

    Aim To describe the role of nurses who assisted in the 2011 Great East Earthquake of Japan by reviewing Japanese literature and reporting the findings in English.

    Method: This research used an integrative literature review methodology. Manuscripts were obtained from the Japanese database Ichushi Ver. 5 (Japan Medical Abstracts Society, Tokyo, Japan). A total of 44 manuscripts were identified and included in a thematic analysis.

    Results: Three main themes were identified: (1) nursing roles, (2) specialized nursing roles, and (3) preparedness education. Nurses fulfilled different roles in the period after the disaster (ie, as a clinician, a communicator, a leader, and a provider of psychosocial support). Additionally, the specialized nurse role was identified, along with the need for preparedness education to support the nurse's role in a disaster.

    Conclusion: The understanding of the role of nurses in disasters is expanding. There is a need to further explore the roles of specialized nurses in disasters. Further disaster education opportunities should be available as a part of continuing education for all nurses. Radiation aspects of disaster assistance should be included in disaster education programs where there are radio-nuclear hazards present in the environment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)275-279
    Number of pages5
    JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • disaster
    • literature review
    • nursing
    • role


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