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(A111) Role, Resources, and Clinical and Educational Backgrounds of Nurses Who Participated in the Prehospital Response to the 2009 Bushfires in Victoria, Australia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 May 2011

J. Ranse
Affiliation:
Faculty of Health, Canberra, Australia
S. Lenson
Affiliation:
Canberra, Australia
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Abstract

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The bushfires of February 2009 in Victoria, Australia resulted in the deaths of 173 people and caused injuries to 414. Furthermore, > 2,030 houses and 3,500 structures were destroyed. The role and experience of nurses in this environment are not well understood, and little is known about the clinical and education background of nurses in this setting. This presentation will provide an overview of the bushfires and report on two research projects. The aims of these projects were to explore participant demographics and various aspects of nursing activities in the prehospital environment. These projects used volunteer nursing members of St John Ambulance Australia who responded to the Victorian fires. The first project used a retrospective, descriptive postal survey, and the second was descriptive and exploratory, using semi-structured interviews as a means of data collection. The survey highlighted that nurses had varying clinical and educational backgrounds. Males were overrepresented when compared to the national average of nurses. Most participants had taken disaster-related education, however, this varied in type and duration. Similarly, most had participated in training or mock disasters; however this usually was not related to bushfire emergencies. The qualitative findings identified two main themes having expansive roles and being prepared. These highlighted that nurses maintained a variety of roles, such as clinicians, emotional supporters, coordinators and problem solvers, and they were well prepared for these roles. This research provided insight into the characteristics and level of preparedness of nurses who responded to the 2009 Victorian bushfires in the prehospital environment. Additionally, it highlights the need for more structured education and training for nurse that is aligned with their role and deployment environment.

Type
Abstracts of Scientific and Invited Papers 17th World Congress for Disaster and Emergency Medicine
Copyright
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2011
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(A111) Role, Resources, and Clinical and Educational Backgrounds of Nurses Who Participated in the Prehospital Response to the 2009 Bushfires in Victoria, Australia
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