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

17 April, 2022

Disaster education in undergraduate nursing curriculum: A Delphi study to prioritise content for nursing students


ABSTRACT
 
Background: When a disaster occurs, a health response must adapt to meet the needs of the community. Nursing students may be able to assist in supporting the nursing workforce to meet the community’s health needs during and/or following a disaster. However, there is a paucity of literature regarding the educational needs of nursing students regarding disaster preparedness. Further, the disaster-related content that is important to be included in undergraduate nursing curricula is poorly understood. 

Methods: This study used a modified three-round Delphi design guided by the principles of the Guidance on Conducting and REporting DElphi Studies. Data was collected from Australian clinical and academic nurses via online surveys. Analysis was undertaken using descriptive statistics including means of central tendency, with disaster content topic areas and statements considered a priority if they obtained a mean score of four out of five, or greater. 

Results: A total of 38 nurses participated in this study. Across the three rounds, eight topic areas and 37 different statements were included. High priority statements for topic inclusions in undergraduate curricula were “disaster knowledge,” “assessment and triage,” “critical thinking,” and “technical skills.” Additionally, statements relating to “mental wellbeing” and “teamwork in stressful situations” were ranked as the highest. 

Conclusions: Disaster-related content should be included in undergraduate nursing curricula. This content could be embedded within existing units of study and/or delivered as a standalone unit of study. The educational method for delivering disaster content could vary from a didactic approach to simulation exercises depending on the content and local context.

14 April, 2022

Phenomenology of Australian civilian hospital nurses’ lived experiences of the out-of-hospital environment following a disaster


ABSTRACT 

Background: Disasters disrupt the fabric of communities. This includes disruption to the healthcare system that supports a disaster-affected community. Nurses are important members of disaster response teams. However, there is limited literature that describes nurses’ roles or experience in responding to disasters. 

Aim: This paper employs a phenomenological approach to uncover moments of being an Australian civilian hospital nurse in the out-of-hospital environment following a disaster. 

Method: This study uncovers moments of what it is like being an Australian civilian hospital nurse deployed to the out-of-hospital environment following a disaster. Individual interviews were undertaken at two points in time with each participant. Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed to textual narratives, which was then analysed. Several activities were undertaken to uncover moments and provide exemplars of moments, from the narrative. 

Findings: Eight hospital nurses participated in this study. Five moments were uncovered: ‘on the way to a disaster’, ‘prior to starting work’, ‘working a shift in a disaster’, ‘end of a shift’, and ‘returning home’. Each moment has its uniqueness and singularity exemplifying an experience of nurses in the out-of-hospital disaster environment. 

Discussion: When compared to a hospital context, assisting during and/or following a disaster in the out-of-hospital environment is challenging. For example, nurses may need to do more with less resources, provide more frequent psychosocial support for more extenuating circumstances, and experience an unsettling return home at the end of the deployment. 

Conclusions: This paper has provided new insights into what it may be like being an Australian civilian hospital nurse in the out-of-hospital disaster environment as part of a disaster medical assistance teams. Strategies to support nurses who assist during and/or following a disaster are important, so nurses can in turn provide care to people in disaster-affected communities.


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