Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

A Disaster Response and Management Competency Mapping of Community Nurses in China

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

A Disaster Response and Management Competency Mapping of Community Nurses in China

Article excerpt


Background: It is widely accepted in many parts of the world that community nurses are of vital importance in various phases of disaster response and management. In China, however, it is not clear whether the Chinese community nurses are able to assume disaster-related duties due to the lack of a systematic assessment.

Methods: A pre-designed and well-tested questionnaire was employed to evaluate the competency in disaster response and management among 205 valid registered Chinese community nurses between September and October 2009. Statistical analyses were performed with SPSS Version 13.0 using one way ANOVA, Least Significant Difference (LSD) and multiple stepwise regression analysis.

Results: This group of Chinese community nurses scored at an intermediate level of competency (a score of 3.68 (SD 0.48) out of a perfect score of 5) in disaster response and management, suggesting that they have the basic ability to participate in disaster-related nursing. Four factors, namely, Experiences in Disaster Relief, Participation in Disaster Training, the Age and Duration in Job, were identified to be the predominant factors contributing significantly to the integrated competency in disaster response and management of an individual.

Conclusion: Most of the Chinese community nurses have basic qualifications and competencies to undertake the responsibilities of disaster response and management. However, more targeted disaster training including virtual-reality based drills should be provided in order to improve their competency.

Keywords: Community nurse, Public health nurse, Disaster


Our modern world is constantly facing with the challenges of the outbreak of infectious diseases, traffic accidents, food poisoning, war, terrorist attacks and many other natural or non-natural disasters such as earthquake, landslide and flood, etc. To minimize the damage and the suffering the disasters might cause, it is important to maximally mobilize all human resources and natural resources to cope with difficult situations effectively. Traditionally, professional emergency response departments and medical relieving organizations and hospitals, are responsible for most of the disaster related response and management efforts in the most countries worldwide. The doctors and nurses working in the health care sectors are serving as the major medical forces to shoulder the tasks of disaster relieving. Recently, however, the importance of disaster response and management at the community levels is attracting a lot of attention (1-2). In particular, it has been proposed that the community nurses can contribute significantly not only to disaster medical relief, but also to disaster management (pre-disaster preparedness and dissemination of disaster knowledge; immediate responses to disasters; and post-disaster hygienic tasks, peace keeping, mitigation and recovery etc.) (2). A number of studies have been undertaken to delineate the exact roles and the competency status of the public health nurses and to determine the training they might need in order to be better prepared for the responsibilities they might have to take (2-10). In comparison with the nurses from the hospitals or other relieving agencies, the community nurses might have their own advantages. These include that they are more familiar with the vicinity of the environment; they have easy access the local residents and they can perform comprehensive drills and training for disaster preparedness and responses; they can also provide more personalized guidance and effective help to local residents at different levels when needed (11-13).

In China, previous attention in disaster nursing was largely paid to enhancing the competency of hospital nurses at specialized sectors, especially first-aid stations, ICU, as well as the surgery departments, focusing on the emergency rescue medical efforts immediately after the disasters (10, 14). …

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