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Nurses have long been utilized in disaster response and recovery and they possess broad skill sets, which are critical in times of crisis. However, studies show that more than 80% of nurses who volunteered in disasters settings have no disaster education.
This project explored the disaster knowledge, preparedness, and resilience of 2nd and 3rd-year undergraduate student nurses in a Bachelor of Nursing Science program in a regional university to garner support for the introduction of dedicated disaster nursing education, which is currently absent from Australian undergraduate nursing curricula. Whilst disaster management processes in Australia are robust and Australian health care systems have explicit plans in place, the same cannot be said for all countries and health care systems. Australian trained nurses are highly valued and actively sought in the global health workforce market. In a world marked by increasing change and instability, the lack of dedicated disaster education and skills in the largest health workforce increases the overall vulnerability.
Data were collected using the Disaster Preparedness Evaluation Tool, the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, simple demographics, and a previous disaster experience questionnaire.
The results highlight important gaps in current practice and vulnerabilities in the current disaster management framework. Local students scored higher results in preparedness and resilience.
Student nurses are an underutilized resource in disaster preparation and by response teams around the world. With a global intent of shared responsibility and increased resilience in individuals and communities before, during, and after disaster events, dedicated capacity building of nursing staff has the potential to address key factors and simultaneously utilize an underappreciated demographic of student nurses. To the best of the author’s knowledge, this project is the first to explore disaster knowledge, preparedness, and resilience in undergraduate student nurses using validated disaster preparedness and resilience tools in Australia.
The Mt Merapi volcanic eruption in October 2010 claimed more than 386 lives, injured thousands of survivors, and devastated the surrounding environment. No instrument was available in Indonesia to assess the psychosocial impact on survivors of environmental degradation caused by such natural disasters. We developed, translated, and tested an Indonesian version of the Environmental Distress Scale (EDS) for use as a tool to reliably measure environmental distress related to environmental damage in Indonesia.
The EDS, a prospective translation and psychometric study, was modified for use in a volcano disaster setting in Indonesia; translated into Indonesian; and pilot tested to determine meaning and cultural appropriateness. A test-retest study with 80 survivors of the 2010 Mt Merapi volcanic eruption measured the reliability of the tool.
The Indonesian version of the EDS (I-EDS) captured the content of the original EDS with appropriate adaptations for cultural differences of Indonesian natural disaster survivors.
The I-EDS can be considered a reliable tool for assessing the psychosocial impact of environmental degradation from natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, which might be useful for Indonesian researchers. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1–10)
Tropical cyclone (TC) Yasi, thought to be the largest and most severe cyclone to cross the Queensland coast since 1918, made landfall on the southern tropical coast near Mission Beach and continued to track westward across Northern Queensland on February 3, 2011. The warning and response model (WRM) suggests that situational factors, personal characteristics, and social contextual variables influence the degree of threat perceived and protective actions taken.
The aim of this study was to examine preparation for this impending natural disaster by residents of the affected regions, and to identify the residents’ resource losses and symptoms of psychological distress following TC Yasi.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted 6-12 months after the cyclone using an adapted tool designed to measure preparedness, loss and psychosocial distress. Four hundred and thirty-three responses were received. Statistical analysis was conducted using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Categorical characteristics were described using sample size and percentages.
Almost all respondents perceived the cyclone warning as serious or very serious, and more than a third started preparing for the cyclone at least three days before it reached landfall. Overall, 115 (26.7%) respondents reported moderate and 59 (13.7%) reported major property damage; 72 (17.1%) reported a moderate and 49 (11.6%) reported a major change in their feeling of whether they have control over their life; 55 (13.1%) reported a major change in their motivation of getting things done; and 33 (7.9%) reported a major change in their perception of feeling valuable to others. Overall, 142 (34.1%) documented at least one of five symptoms of acute distress.
The findings document the experiences of Australians who have lived through tropical cyclone Yasi. The results support the WRM theory which proposes that people with previous experience take threatened disasters seriously.
UsherK, BuettnerP, WestC, MillisJ, WoodsC, MasonM, BoonH, Chamberlain-SalaunJ. Preparedness for and Impact of Tropical Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland, Australia. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(3):1-7.
The need to manage psychological symptoms after disasters can result in an increase in the prescription of psychotropic drugs, including antidepressants and anxiolytics. Therefore, an increase in the prescription of antidepressants and anxiolytics could be an indicator of general psychological distress in the community.
The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a change in the rate of prescription of antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs following Cyclone Yasi.
A quantitative evaluation of new prescriptions of antidepressants and anxiolytics was conducted. The total number of new prescriptions for these drugs was calculated for the period six months after the cyclone and compared with the same six month period in the preceding year. Two control drugs were also included to rule out changes in the general rate of drug prescription in the affected communities.
After Cyclone Yasi, there was an increase in the prescription of antidepressant drugs across all age and gender groups in the affected communities except for males 14-54 years of age. The prescription of anxiolytic drugs decreased immediately after the cyclone, but increased by the end of the six-month post-cyclone period. Control drug prescription did not change.
There was a quantifiable increase in the prescription of antidepressant drugs following Cyclone Yasi that may indicate an increase in psychosocial distress in the community.
UsherK, BrownLH, BuettnerP, GlassB, BoonH, WestC, GrassoJ, Chamberlain-SalaunJ, WoodsC. Rate of Prescription of Antidepressant and Anxiolytic Drugs after Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(6):1-5.
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