Are emergency care nurses prepared for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive incidents?

Christina J. Mitchell, George Kernohan, Ray Higginson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Two main areas exist within emergency care where chemical, biological, radiological, nuclearand explosive preparedness can be focused: departmental preparedness and staff prepared-ness. This study focused upon the latter.Aim: To identify areas where nurses require training in order to improve preparedness for aCBRNe incident.Methods: A competency questionnaire was developed from the literature and completed by 50nursing staff across three Emergency Departments within one NHS Trust in Northern Ireland.Descriptive analysis was used for the quantitative data along with content analysis for the qual-itative questions.Results: Six key areas were identified for training; waste management (including clinicalwaste, contaminated clothing, contaminated water and the management of the contaminateddeceased), Triage, Chain of command, PODs, awareness of the range of Personal ProtectiveEquipment and its appropriate use and the decontamination of people and equipment.Conclusion: There is a need for a standardised ‘blueprint’ of role-specific competency criteriafor a CBRNe incident for all emergency healthcare staff. The assessment tool used in this studycan help to assess levels of preparedness amongst nursing staff and, if adapted accordingly,help gauge preparedness of other key healthcare professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-161
JournalInternational Emergency Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2012


  • CBRNe
  • Emergency nursing
  • Major incident preparedness


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