Research Article|Articles in Press

Public health messaging during disasters: A qualitative study of emergency department key informants

Published:March 03, 2023DOI:



      Patient education is a professional obligation for all nurses. Public health messaging in emergency departments during disasters can help prevent further risk or illness for affected communities. In this study, Australian emergency nurse Key Informants share their perceptions and experiences of preventative messaging provided in their departments during disasters and the governance and processes in place to support this practice.


      The qualitative phase of a mixed methods study, where semi structured interviews were utilised, and data analysed using a six step Thematic analysis.


      Three themes were identified: (1) Part of the Job; (2) It’s all in the delivery; and (3) Preparation is the key. These themes include concepts involving the confidence and competence of nurses providing messages, what, when and how messages are being given and how prepared both the department and staff are regarding patient education during disaster events.


      Nurse confidence is a key factor in the delivery of preventative messages during disasters, potentially resulting from a lack of exposure, a junior workforce and minimal training. Leaders agree that departments are not preparing or supporting messaging practice, with an absence of specific training, formal guidelines, and patient education resources; and that improvement is needed.


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