Disaster Nursing: Looking to The Future in Norway

Disaster Nursing: Looking to The Future in Norway

Gunn-Mari Holdo Lee Miles Heather Hartwell 

Faculty of Health, University of Tromsø, Norway

Faculty of Management, Bournemouth University, England

30 September 2017
| Citation



Health resilience is an integral part of disaster management and lies at the nexus between this and public health considerations. As the largest group of professionals worldwide, nurses face continual challenges in further developing their competences in disaster response and recovery. This paper investigates the trajectory, role and future expectations of the Norwegian nursing profession in health emergency and disaster planning, and offers a future research agenda for those interested in investigating the complex inter-relationship between disaster management and nursing. The paper seeks to respond to observations made in a recent Norwegian report (2013) on behalf of the Norwegian nursing association that highlights the need to investigate nurses’ knowledge in relation to emergency/disaster plans especially in the community health care system. The paper will explore the conceptual nuances between emergencies and disasters and then comments upon supplementary observations of the need for identifying disaster nursing practices and training programs to prepare nurses. By taking this approach, the paper also seeks to provide insights into how future demands of improving nurses´ capacities or implementation as leaders in disaster management – as highlighted by several International studies. In addition, by offering a future research agenda, the intention is that this may contribute to exploration of the role of nursing in handling long-term implications of disaster management.


community nursing, disaster management plans, disaster nursing, education, nurses’ involvement, resilient community


[1] Coppola, D.P., Introduction to International Disaster Management, 3rd edn., Butterworth-Heinemann, Elsevier: Oxford, 2015.

[2] Comfort, L.K., Boin, A. & Demchak, C.C., Resilience revisited: an action agenda for managing extreme events. Designing Resilience Preparing for Extreme Events, eds L.L. Comfort, A. Boin & C.C. Demchak, University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh, pp. 272–284, 2010.

[3] Boin, A., Hart, P., Stern, E. & Sundelius, B., The Politics of Crisis Management: Public Leadership Under Pressure, Cambridge University Press: USA, 2005. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511490880

[4] United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) 2015. Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. United Nations – Headquarters.

[5] Comfort, L.K., Oh, N., Ertan, G. & Scheinert, S., Designing adaptive systems for disaster mitigation and response: The role of structure. Designing Resilience Preparing for Extreme Events, eds L.K. Comfort, A. Boin. and C.C. Demchak, University of Pittsburgh press: Pittsburgh, pp. 33–61, 2010.

[6] Hunter Revell, S.M. & McCurry, M.K., Postflood disaster management and the home health nurse: using theory to guide practice. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 27, pp. 126–136, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370016.2010.494454

[7] Powers, R., Introduction to disaster nursing. International Disaster Nursing, eds R. Powers & E. Daily, Cambridge University Press: New York, pp. 1–11, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511841415.004

[8] Yan, Y.E., Turale, S., Stone, T. & Petrini, M., Disaster nursing skills, knowledge and attitudes required in earthquake relief: Implications for nursing education. International Nursing Review, 62, pp. 351–359, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1111/inr.12175

[9] Chapman, K. & Arbon, P., Are nurses ready? disaster preparedness in the acute setting. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 11, pp. 135–144, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aenj.2008.04.002

[10] Nilsson, J., Johansson, E., Carlsson, M., Florin, J., Leksell, J., Lepp, M., Lindholm, C., Nordström, G., Theander, K., Wilde-Larsson, B. & Gardulf, A., Disaster nursing: Self-reported competence of nursing students and registered nurses, with focus on their readiness to manage violence, serious events and disasters. Nurse Education in Practice, 17, pp. 102–108, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2015.09.012

[11] Andrews, T., Gustavsen, A., Waldahl, R.H. & Eide, A.K., The role and action of nurses in a national catastrophy. About the work with victims of the event 22nd July 2011. Bodø: NF- rapport. 2013. (in Norwegian) ISBN-nr.:978-82-7321-639-7

[12] Health Preparedness Act. (Act No. 56 of 23 June 2000 relating to health and social preparedness.), available at www.lovdata.no (accessed 4 November 2016) (In Norwegian)

[13] Civil protection Act. (Act of 25 June 2010, No. 45 relating to municipal preparedness duty, civil protection and the Norwegian Civil Defense), available at www.lovdata.no (accessed 4 November 2016) (In Norwegian)

[14] Statens Kartverk available at www.norgeskart.no (accessed 22 December 2016).

[15] Statistics Norway available at https://www.ssb.no (accessed 15 December 2016).

[16] International Council of Nurses, 2002. Definition of Nursing 2 (short version). available at http://www.icn.ch/who-we-are/icn-definition-of-nursing/ (accessed 12 December 2016).

[17] Veenema, T.G., Griffin, A., Gable, A.R., MacIntyre, L., Simons, R.A.D.M., Couig, M.P., Walsh, J.J., Lavin, R.P., Dobalian, A. & Larson, E., Nurses as leaders in disaster preparedness and response- a call to action. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 48(2), pp. 187–200, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1111/jnu.12198

[18] Bahrami, M., Aliakbari, F. & Aein, F., Iranian nurses´ perception of essential competences in disaster response: A qualitative study. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 3, p. 81, 2014.

[19] Yamamoto, A., Development of disaster nursing in Japan, and trends of disaster nursing in the world. Japan Journal of Nursing Science, 10, pp. 162–169, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1111/jjns.12042

[20] Lereim, I., et al., Learning for improved emergency preparedness. Health intervention after the terror event 22 July 2011, Directorate of Health, Oslo, 2012. (In Norwegian) ISBN-nr. 978-82-8081-256-8

[21] Polit, D.F. & Beck, C.T., Nursing research Principles and Methods, 7th edn., Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004.

[22] Ward-Smith, P., The fine print of literature reviews. Urologic Nursing, 36(5), pp. 253– 258. 2016.

[23] Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DBS), Local government study 2016. (In Norwegian), available at https://www.dsb.no (accessed 5 November 2016)

[24] Norwegian government department of education and research. Framework for Nurses education, 25 January 2008. (In Norwegian) available at www.regjeringen.no

[25] World Health Organization and International Council of Nurses 2009. ICN Framework of Disaster Nursing Competencies. Available at: www.icn.ch/ (accessed 9 November 2016)

[26] Alexander, D., Principles of Emergency Planning and Management, Terra Publishing: United Kingdom.

[27] Baack, S. & Alfred, D., Nurses’ preparedness and perceived competence in managing disasters. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 45(3), pp. 281–287, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1111/jnu.12029

[28] Rokkas, P. & Steenkamp, M., Disaster preparedness and response: Challenges for Australian public health nurses – A literature review. Nursing and Health Sciences, 16, pp. 60–66, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1111/nhs.12134

[29] Usher, K., Redman-MacLaren, M.L., Mills, J., West, C., Casella, E., Hapsari, E.D., Bonita, S., Rosaldo, R., Liswar, A.K. & Amy, Y.Z., Strengthen and preparing: Enhancing nursing research for disaster management. Nurse Education in Practice, 15, pp. 68–74, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2014.03.006

[30] Schmidt, C.K., Davis, J.M., Sanders, J.L., Chapman, L.A., Cisco, M.C. & Hady, A.R., Exploring nursing students’ level of preparedness for disaster response. Nursing Education Perspectives, 32(6), pp. 380–383, 2011. https://doi.org/10.5480/1536-5026-32.6.380

[31] Miles, L., The ‘Five-C’s’: international disaster management and public health and place for entrepreneurial resilience. Perspectives on Public Health, 136(6), pp. 323– 325, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1177/1757913916672810