Doctoral thesis

Australian civilian hospital nurses’ lived experience of an out-of-hospital environment following a disaster

Mass Gathering Health / Mass Gathering Medicine

Various publications and presentations relating to Mass Gathering and Major Event health

Disaster Health

Various publications and presentations relating to disaster health

29 November, 2010

Black Saturday and the Victorian Bushfires of February 2009: A descriptive survey of nurses who assisted in the pre-hospital setting

 

Background: In February 2009, bushfires devastated the state of Victoria, Australia, resulting in the loss of property and life — this event was named ‘Black Saturday’. Pre, during and post the impact of this event, health care professionals, such as nursing members of St John Ambulance Australia, provided clinical care in the pre-hospital environment. There is a paucity of literature regarding the clinical and disaster background, education and preparedness of those health care professionals who assist in similar emergencies, as such the characteristics of responders are not well understood.

Method: This research used a retrospective descriptive postal survey design, to survey nursing members of St John Ambulance Australia regarding their nursing experience; pre-hospital experience; disaster education, training and experience; and their role during the response to the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Results: A total of 53 nurses were approached for inclusion in this research, of which 24 (45%) voluntarily participated. Males represented 46% and females represented 54% of participants. Participants had more combined years of nursing experience in the medical and surgical environments, then other areas of practice. Post-graduate critical care nursing was the primary area of completed post-graduate education. The previous disaster experience of participants was principally related to bushfire emergency response. Most participants had undertaken disaster related education, however this varied in type and duration. Similarly, most had participated in training or mock disasters; however this was commonly not related to bushfire emergencies. During the response to the Victorian bushfires, those nurses who undertook a clinical role did so at a staging area, caring for fire fighters and working with other members of their organisation. Half of the participants undertook an administrative role.

Conclusions: This research has provided insight into the characteristics and level of preparedness, of nurses who responded to the 2009 Victorian bushfires. Previously, such information has not been available in the literature. In this research, males were overrepresented when compared to the national average of nurses. The most amount of nursing experience was in the medical and surgical environment, this is consistent with national nursing workforce trends. Whilst most had clinical experience in bushfires, no training or mock scenarios focused specifically to bushfires. There is a need to explore further, the various roles undertaken by nurses during response, as this research has focused on one event — the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Changes to Australian nursing and midwifery registration: implications for interstate disaster response


This editorial discusses the recent changes to Australian nursing and midwifery registration and the subsequent implications for interstate disaster response.

Reference: Ranse J, Cusack L. (2010) Changes to Australian nursing and midwifery registration: implications for interstate disaster response. Collegian. [editorial]. 17(4):207-208

What is the role of nursing students and faculties of nursing during disasters and emergencies? A discussion paper


During times of disaster, the front-line nursing workforce and the health services in which they work may be overwhelmed by a surge in patient demand. As a result, assistance will be required to bolster the nursing workforce. Commonly, discussions regarding workforce supply and sustainability during disasters are isolated within particular health service institutions. The aims of this discussion paper are to; firstly, consider the potential contribution of nursing students and schools of nursing within Australian universities to increase the health workforce during a disaster, and secondly, to present a number of recommendations that universities and schools of nursing could consider in developing their own emergency and disaster plans.
Reference: Cusack L, Arbon P, Ranse J. (2010). What is the role of nursing students and faculties What is the role of nursing students and of nursing during disasters and emergencies? A discussion paper. Collegian. 17(4):193-197

25 November, 2010

The pre-hospital and emergency department interface during disasters: workforce, education and other contemporary issues


This presentation explored the nexus between the pre-hospital and hospital issues in delivering disaster healthcare. In particular, issues such as triage differences, workforce pressures, and educational preparedness were discussed. This presentation was delivered to the ACT Ambulance Service and ACT Branch of the Australasian Paramedics.
Reference: Ranse J. The pre-hospital and emergency department interface during disasters: workforce, education and other contemporary issues; presentation to the ACT Ambulance Service Continuing Medical Education, 25th November 2010.

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