Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Lisa Catherine Lindley

Committee Members

John G. Orme, Lisa Davenport, Katherine M. Newnam, Sandra Thomas


The training programs for disasters in the US are fragmented, uncoordinated, and poorly defined. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceived disaster preparedness of inpatient nurses at a Midwestern level 1 pediatric trauma center. The Disaster Preparedness Evaluation Tool was used to assess disaster preparedness, response abilities, recovery preparedness, and overall preparedness. The Theory of Self-Efficacy was applied to disaster preparedness in this study. Performance accomplishments were conceptualized as prior disaster experience and level of education, vicarious experience as training and drills, verbal persuasion as nurse manager or staff nurse role, and emotional arousal as department/unit type (Emergency Department (ED) or non-Emergency Department). The three main areas addressed in the study included the level of preparedness among inpatient pediatric nurses, the influence of unit type on preparedness, and factors that impact preparedness. Levels of preparedness were compared by unit type (ED and non-ED), previous disaster experience, and disaster education. There were statistically significant differences between ED and non-ED nurses for all four dependent variables (disaster preparedness, response abilities, recovery preparedness, and overall preparedness), and unit type was a statistically significant positive predictor of disaster preparedness, response abilities, and overall preparedness. Disaster education was a positive predictor of response abilities, recovery preparedness, and overall preparedness and participation in a disaster was a positive predictor of response abilities and overall preparedness. Overall, study findings indicated that nurses were not well-prepared for a disaster. Theoretical implications of the study include the conduction of theory-based disaster nursing research, as well as national policies on training and education.

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