Study: Nurses Unprepared for Disasters

 In Nurses Weekly

A new study in the Journal of Nursing Administration indicates significant weaknesses in nurses’ professional emergency preparedness competence. The aim of the study was to examine current levels of self-reported professional emergency preparedness competence among nurses. In addition, relationships between nurse professional emergency preparedness competence, personal preparation for a disaster and perceived likelihood of reporting to work after a disaster were examined.


Evidence suggests wide gaps in nurses’ familiarity with the dimensions of professional emergency preparedness competence and their likelihood to report, potentially impacting human life after a disaster.


An exploratory, cross-sectional survey design was used with a sample of 186 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.


Results indicate significant weaknesses in nurses’ professional emergency preparedness competence. There are positive correlations between likelihood to report, personal preparedness and professional emergency preparedness competence.


Nurses across the United States lack sufficient competence in professional emergency preparedness. Results demonstrate the need to improve the education of nurses to meet the demands of populations in urgent situations. Action items nurse administrators can take are provided.

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