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Preparing nurses for pandemics, global terrorism, hospital fires

A roof collapses at a party. A fire breaks out in a hospital. A terrorist sets off a bomb at a concert. The number and severity of casualties may be overwhelming and the University of Sydney is working to ensure nurses are as prepared as possible to care for them.

Sydney Nursing School has been running live simulations that cap off the First Line Interventions unit in the Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies).

In a study published in Nurse Education in Practice, Jane Currie from the University of Sydney and her co-authors said the need for mass casualty incident education is evident from the number and severity of recent events in Australia and around the globe.

“The increase in frequency and severity of mass casualty incidents as a result of extreme climate events, global terrorism, pandemics and nuclear incidents, has made it important to prepare nurses with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage such incidents,” the authors said. “Nurses are essential healthcare workers during a mass casualty response but the performance of nurses at such times relies heavily upon their training and preparation.”

Despite this, Currie said there are very few documented accounts of the inclusion of mass casualty education in undergraduate programs.

Nursing Review sits down with Currie to learn more about the mass casualty exercises the university ran and how the skills learned are useful in everyday practice.

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