Disaster Education and Training for Australian Nursing Students: A Delphi Study


Disasters happen everyday somewhere in the world. Nurses make up the largest part of the healthcare sector and are integral to disaster response. However, despite the importance attributed to disaster nursing, studies show that nurses feel under prepared to assist in the aftermath of a disaster. This is because training programs are lacking and disaster education contents are not well addressed in the undergraduate nursing curriculum. Implementing disaster contents in the undergraduate nursing curriculum would enable Australian graduates have disaster base knowledge.

What is the aim of this study?

This research study will determine priority disaster topic contents aimed at preparing Australian undergraduate nursing students to assist in caring for victims in the aftermath of disasters.

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What are the benefits of participating in this study?

This area of nursing practice is not yet well developed. By participating in this study, you would be part of the body of experts who could provide some disaster content of what should be included in the Australian undergraduate nursing curriculum. The study results will enable the researcher to generate a list of subject priorities to develop a disaster module in the future that could inform disaster content teaching in Australia. This would be of benefit to survivors of future disasters as findings could better equip future nurses for practice in the aftermath of disasters and probably increase nurses’ willingness to assist following a disaster.

What are the requirements of participation?

You will be required to complete an online survey at two points in time.  Each survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. An email containing a link to the survey will be sent to you. If you wish to continue as a participant in the study, you will be required to follow the link to access the survey. The survey includes:

  • Simple demographic information
  • A list of disaster related topic statements generated from literature review of other studies
  • A provision made for comments and suggestions of additional topic areas you deem relevant for inclusion in the Australian undergraduate nursing curriculum.

In the survey, you will be required to rank the generated topics using a 5-point Likert scale.

Are there possible risks associated with participation in study?

The likelihood of risk associated with this study is negligible. However, the study may be a source of inconvenience to you. Participation in this study is voluntary and you may withdraw your participation at any time of your choosing without consequence. Furthermore, the co-investigators may have some sort of relationship with you. However, the co-investigators will only participate in the process of data analysis after the chief researcher must have grouped the individual datum. This will protect your identity and maintain privacy and confidentiality if perhaps, the co-investigators know you personally.

Will this study affect my emotional health?

You may experience an emotional response relative to your experiences. The likelihood of this occurring is minimal. The rationale is that the survey does not involve the collection of highly personal or sensitive information. However, if an emotional response occurs you are encouraged to seek support from any one of these services:

  • Your General Practitioner
  • Workplace Employer Assistance Program
  • Beyond Blue – 1300224636
  • Lifeline – 131114

Will I be identified in this study?

During data collection, a combination of personal and non-identifying information will be collected from you. However, the only personal information required from you is your email address for further contact to be maintained during the data collection phases of the study. Only the researcher named above will access the individual information you provide. The information you provide will remain confidential. If at any stage of the study you withdraw your participation, no further information will be collected from you. However, information already collected from you prior to your withdrawal will continue to be used for data analysis.

How will information I provide be stored?
Any information you provide will be stored securely on a password protected University of Canberra online survey account.  At the end of the study, data will be transferred to and stored on a University of Canberra password protected network drive.  Data will be stored for a period of 5 years then destroyed afterwards according to University of Canberra policy.

How will study results be used?

At the completion of this project, the research findings will be submitted in thesis format, as part of the requirements of the researcher’s Honours. Furthermore, the results may be presented at conferences and published in a journal. However, in any of these publications or presentations, only aggregated data will be used hence, you will not be individually identified. As a participant if you would like to access the study results, please contact the chief researcher on the email address provided above. The researcher will then send you a summary of the research outcome.

Has this study been approved by ethics?

Approval to conduct this project was obtained from the University of Canberra Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) on 26th February, 2018. Approval number – HREC 17-289.

What if I have any concerns?

Any complaints or reservations you may have about ethical aspects of your participation in this study, may be forwarded to the University of Canberra Research Ethics & Integrity Unit (contact either Mr Hendryk Flaegel via phone 02 6201 5220, Ms Maryanne Simpson via phone 02 6206 3916 or email humanethicscommittee@canberra.edu.au.)  If you make any complaint, it will be treated in strict confidence, investigated and you will be notified of the outcome.

For further information on some questions you could ask about your participation in the research study, you can refer to the Participants’ Guide located at http://www.canberra.edu.au/ucresearch/attachments/pdf/a-m/Agreeing-to-participate-in-research.pdf

About the researcher

The researcher is an Honours student at the University of Canberra. There is one supervisor and two co-investigators overseeing the project. Questions or concerns about this study may be directed to the chief researcher, supervisor or co-investigators on their email contacts above.

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