Research paper|Articles in Press

Public health messaging during disasters: Practice and attitudes of Australian emergency nurses

Published:November 21, 2022DOI:



      The growing frequency of disasters increases health system demands, increasing the need for emergency departments to provide public health messaging to prevent illness and reduce risk. This study aims to explore emergency nurse practice and attitudes in providing public health messages from the emergency department during disasters in Australia.


      Quantitative phase of a mixed methods study, using an explanatory sequential design. Australian emergency nurses were surveyed using a validated online questionnaire. Data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics, an enumerative content analysis, participant profiling and a factor analysis.


      Disaster experience varied in 143 nurse participants. The perception of the emergency nurse’s role in providing public health messages is influencing practice. Embracing teachable moments and health promotion responsibilities, attributes to positive attitudes and practice. In contrast, negative attitudes, lack of confidence, time, policy, and training, are barriers to public health messages being provided in the emergency setting.


      These barriers suggest that Australian emergency nurses may not have the capability, the opportunity, nor the motivation, to provide preventative messages to their patients during disasters. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors need to be addressed, ensuring nurses are confident and supported in their public health messaging practice during disasters.


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