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Disaster response is an emergency nursing responsibility. Responding to disasters, however, is hazardous as terrorism, pandemics and chemical industrial accidents challenge the safety of nurses and their families. International experience has shown that nurses can become victims of disasters and that fear of contaminating family and friends may prevent nurses from attending work or returning home during a disaster response. An understanding of the factors that enable or disable their disaster preparedness will underpin future disaster policy and planning for Australian and international health care organizations.
This study examines the willingness of Australian emergency nurses to attend work to respond to a health care disaster, using a 3-phase mixed-method design. Phase 1 was a national online survey, with 451 responses. Phase 2 involved 6 focus groups at 4 hospital sites, with 41 participants and Phase 3 involved in-depth interviews with emergency nurses at different sites, with 11 participants. This presentation will highlight results from the study on the willingness of Australian emergency nurses to respond to a health care disaster.
Preliminary findings indicate that emergency nurses' willingness to respond to health care disasters was dependent on a number of factors, including their out-of-work responsibilities, the changes to their roles and responsibilities at work, their confidence in management and their work team, the information they are given about the disaster, the type of disaster and the degree of risk involved.
The contribution the findings this study will make to disaster planning and preparedness for nursing staff, health planners and administrators will be outlined.
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