Emergency nurses' perceptions of emergency department preparedness for an ebola outbreak: A qualitative descriptive study

Mihirika SDS Pincha Baduge, Cheryle Moss, Julia Morphet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ebola Virus Disease is highly contagious and has high mortality. In 2014, when the outbreak in West Africa was declared a public health emergency, emergency departments in Australia commenced preparation and vigilance for people presenting with ebola like symptoms, to limit spread of the disease. Research aim: To examine Australian emergency nurses' perceptions regarding their own and their emergency departments' preparedness to manage an ebola outbreak. Method: A qualitative descriptive design was used to collect and analyse data in one metropolitan emergency department in Victoria, Australia. Four focus groups were conducted with 13 emergency nurses. Data were thematically analysed. Results: Major themes emerged from the data: organisational, personal and future preparedness. Participants' believed that both the organisation and themselves had achieved desirable and appropriate preparedness for ebola in their emergency setting. Conclusion: Participants trusted their organisation to prepare and protect them for ebola. Appropriate policies, procedures, and equipment infrastructure were reportedly in place. Nurses' decisions to care for a patient with ebola were informed by professional commitment, and personal responsibilities. Participants were concerned about transmitting ebola to their families, and suggested that more regular training in personal protective equipment would increase confidence and skill in self-protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Emergency Nursing Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Ebola hemorrhagic fever
  • Emergency nursing
  • Hospital emergency service
  • Infection control
  • Organisational preparedness
  • Qualitative research

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