Nurses' perception of disaster: Implications for disaster nursing curriculum

Wai Man Olivia Fung, Lai Ky Claudia, Loke Alice Yuen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives. The aims of the study were to identify nurses' perception of disaster, whether they considered some of the events that have occurred in Hong Kong to be disasters and the types of disastrous events that they considered likely in Hong Kong. Background. The frequent occurrence of disasters has caused concern internationally. When disaster strikes, the demands on nursing staff are much higher than those on other healthcare professionals. There is little understanding of the concept of disaster among nurses in Hong Kong. Design. This was a descriptive study. A questionnaire was used to explore nurses' perception of disaster. Method. The questionnaire was distributed to all registered nurses studying in a master's degree programme in a university in Hong Kong. Findings. Only 123 out of the 164 respondents (75%) gave a description of disaster in the open-ended question. Sixty-one per cent of them described unfortunate events with large numbers of victims as disasters. The 'Lan Kwai Fong tragedy - stampede caused by over-crowdedness' (90·9%) and the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak (89·6%) were commonly referred to as disasters in Hong Kong. Fires in tall buildings (61·6%), infectious disease outbreaks (61%) and stampedes caused by overcrowding (48·8%) were rated as the events most likely to happen in Hong Kong. Conclusion. Understanding how nurses perceive disaster and the likelihood of disastrous events is the initial step for disaster planning and the development of a disaster nursing curriculum in Hong Kong. Relevance to clinical practice. All nurses around the world should be equipped with knowledge and skills for disaster care. This study provides information and implications for related research and the development of a disaster nursing curriculum to meet the global demand for disaster preparedness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3165-3171
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


  • Disaster planning
  • Hong Kong
  • Nurses
  • Nursing education
  • Perception
  • Preparation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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