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Disaster Nursing Conference

  • : Brisbane City QLD 4000



All countries experience disasters of some kind and they are usually unpredictable. Australia regularly experiences natural events such as floods, fires, and cyclones. In an increasingly unstable world, attacks against the state, such as terrorist attacks, are also a sad reality. In any such event, as a nurse you are likely to be called upon to step up and act – clinically and in the community. While your hospital or workplace is likely to have an emergency management plan, have you thought about your own response? Are you prepared to rise to the challenge? What’s YOUR disaster management plan? Topics include:

  • How one nurse triaged 70 people after the Bali Bombings ...
  • What it’s like being deployed to a high conflict military zone
  • How hospitals prepare for mass casualty incidents
  • Parent matching and tracking when children are affected
  • The neuroscience of trauma
  • Plenty of stories, networking and much, much more ...

Don’t miss out, book your place at this popular conference now!

Schedule Day One



Acknowledgment of Country


Welcome and Introduction


Ronnie Taylor

Bali Bombings – Stories from the Frontline

On October 12, 2002, the detonation of three bombs on the popular tourist island of Bali, Indonesia rocked Australia. Over 36 hours, the Royal Darwin Hospital treated more patients than any single hospital in the US after 9/11. This introductory session is told by an Emergency Nurse Practitioner who was part of this large hospital disaster response. She triaged 70 of the Bali bombing victims and provides invaluable experience to answer the following:

  • What is a disaster?
  • What is it like on the frontline?
  • Is it possible to prepare yourself?


Chris Foley

Military Deployment in the Middle East – My Experiences

How do the expectations of being deployed as a nurse to a high conflict military zone, such as the Middle East, contrast with the reality of what happens there? What is it actually like? Using case studies, photos, and stories from a diary kept at the time, a military nurse will discuss:

  • Why primary care was such a key aspect of being deployed to the Middle East
  • Lessons learned from the assessment and management of:
    • Blast injuries
    • Sniper attacks
    • Single shotgun wounds
    • High-velocity injuries



Fiona Newman

When Disasters Strike … Surgical Trauma Care Surges

Long after patients have been triaged and the scene is being cleared, perioperative teams are often still managing the consequences of a catastrophe. They may be taking a patient into the operating room for the 10th time. In addition to the surges that are seen following a disaster, surgical care of people affected by disasters often continues long after the disaster is cleared away. This session offers a perioperative perspective for preparing for a disaster and reveals:

  • What are the complex surgical trauma cases seen during disasters?
  • Do anaesthetic conditions change?
  • What are the perioperative priorities of care and management for major injuries?
  • What staffing considerations are required?
  • How can the capacity of perioperative nurses be developed over time?


Sarah Ansell

Preparing a Hospital for a Mass Casualty Incident

A mass casualty incident has the potential to overwhelm all available resources, including a hospital. Well-planned responses and recovery following such an incident are imperative. Have you thought about the considerations that come into play when a mass casualty incident occurs? This session will give you a big picture overview so you can understand where you fit in. It includes:

  • What are the different phases during an external emergency?
  • Which incidents elicit the highest level response?
  • How does a hospital plan for a mass casualty incident when it is the target?
  • What is a typical hospital response to a disaster?
  • What are the different roles during a disaster?



Dr Jamie Ranse

How do You Actually Care During a Catastrophe?

What do nurses do during a disaster? How can nurses that work in clinical roles and in the community best assist and meet the needs of their community during a disaster? This practical session will update you on the current literature about nursing during disasters. It will also draw on the presenter's own experiences of assisting during the 2003 Canberra bushfires to answer the following questions:

  • Expectations vs reality – what do nurses actually do during a disaster?
  • What level of psychological support do people expect nurses to provide?
  • How can you be of most assistance?
  • What health advice do people require?
  • What medical support and information is of the most use to a community?



John Serginson

Thunderstorm Asthma – A Different Type of Disaster?

In October 2017 in Victoria, tragically nine people died as a result of or due to complications associated with “Thunderstorm Asthma”. Emergency services were overwhelmed with desperate calls from people who were suffering from acute respiratory problems. While we have long known that weather conditions can play havoc with the symptoms that people with asthma and allergies experience, why did it cause nine people to lose their life? This session reveals:

  • How did this disaster occur?
  • What is the immunological response that triggered a cascade of such serious consequences?
  • How can it be prevented?
  • What advice should we be giving to people with asthma and other allergies?
  • What were the lessons learned and how can we prevent further harm?


Day Two



Ronnie Taylor

The 2010 Pakistan Floods – A Military and Civilian Disaster

Queenslanders in a flash can visualise the consequences of severe flooding. Now, imagine what this would look like in a country where almost a quarter of people live in extreme poverty. This is what occurred in Pakistan in 2010. After unparalleled monsoon rains, 18 million people were affected by flooding and 12 million homes were damaged or destroyed. This quickly became a militarily, civilian, and humanitarian disaster. This session reflects on:

  • What were the conditions like in Pakistan?
  • How did emergency services respond?
  • What are the lessons learned…?


Dr James Smith and John Piispanen

The 2011 and 2013 Queensland Floods

Queenslanders will remember all too well the devastating effects of the 2011 and 2013 Queensland floods. This session will provide a unique look at these two major flood events, explaining the following:

  • What are the governance and structural aspects to disaster response?
  • What is the role of environmental health in a flood?
  • What communicable disease risks emerged?
  • How are these communicable disease risks managed?
  • What lessons can be learnt?




A Gruelling Task? Planning for Paediatric Trauma

Children have unique vulnerabilities during a disaster. Physiological differences must be considered in order to best respond to the physical needs of a child. Psychologically, children are, of course, not immune the effects of loss, grief, and destruction. This session focuses on paediatric specific disaster preparedness and includes:

  • What physiological differences make children at greater risk for harm during a disaster?
  • What are the golden rules of prehospital paediatric care?
  • How do we triage children in mass casualties?
  • Are there certain atypical injuries we may not think of?
  • Parent matching and tracking – how is it done in reality?


Senior Sergeant Ritchie Callaghan

Identifying Victims of Disasters

There are significant challenges in identifying victims of disaster. Visual identification is often not reliable and understandably, a very traumatic experience for families of victims. Therefore, if there are more than three deceased people at the one location a Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) process is initiated. This allows multiple victims of a single incident to be identified. This session will provide an overview of this process and help nurses to understand how the deceased victims of disaster are cared for and their families are supported. Using case studies from recent local, national and international responses, you become more familiar with the following:

  • What happens at the scene of a disaster?
  • What are the processes of identification?
  • How is evidence collected and what determines the cause of death?
  • How are victims identified?
  • What can we do to support families during this process?



Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

Stress Responses to Trauma

Although traumatic and potentially life-threatening events, such as disasters, can be part of the human experience, for approximately 5 to 10% of the Australian population, responses to these traumatic events consist of significant emotional distress and subsequent impairment in a person’s ability to live a satisfying life. What we should expect, both in our patients and ourselves. This session we will look at these “normal and common” responses to trauma and consider:

  • Are trauma and grief inevitable?
  • What are the normal and abnormal responses to trauma?
  • How is acute stress disorder (ASD) different to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
  • What is the effect of vicarious trauma?
  • Why trauma affects us all differently – what’s going on inside your brain…?



Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

Caring for the Caregiver…

Those who relish the opportunity to care during a catastrophe are often selfless and dedicated people who are well versed in supporting the needs of others. It is now widely recognised that self-care before, during, and after a disaster forms the foundation of responding during a disaster. This final session serves as a timely reminder of why self-care matters. It includes ways in which you can create your personal preparedness plan. Let’s discuss:

  • Why should we create awareness around our own wellbeing?
  • How can self-care improve the way that we care for others?
  • What’s your personal disaster management self-care plan?


The Goal Need for Program

No place on earth is immune to disasters. They may be relatively small and localised, for instance an attack against the state, or they may affect entire regions, such as a hurricane or tsunami. They are highly disruptive and usually cause chaos, suffering, and death. At such times, nurses are likely to be affected and will be required to step up to perform different roles to those of their daily work. Therefore, understanding the bigger picture of disasters, the essential practicalities, and the nursing skills required, will increase preparedness, disaster responsiveness, and personal resilience.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this conference is to provide nurses with information and knowledge about disasters and their management to improve their professional preparedness.

Your learning outcomes:

Use knowledge of the “big picture” of disaster management to participate effectively in caring for those affected

Prioritise your nursing care for maximum effect in a disaster situation

Follow through on the psychological implications of a disaster for all your patients and self

Participate in planning and post-incident debriefing to ensure nursing considerations are implemented


Ronnie Taylor

Ronnie Taylor

Ronnie Taylor is a Nurse Practitioner based in the Emergency Department in Albany, Western Australia. Her specialities include emergency, disaster, ... Read More

Chris Foley

Chris Foley

Chris Foley is a Registered Nurse in the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps. He has a background in emergency and ... Read More

Fiona Newman

Fiona Newman

Fiona Newman is a Registered Nurse with a bachelor of nursing, a certificate in anaesthetic nursing, and a certificate of ... Read More

Sarah Ansell

Sarah Ansell

Sarah Ansell is a clinical nurse in emergency from the Sunshine Coast with a master of public health majoring in ... Read More

Jamie Ranse

Jamie Ranse

Jamie is currently employed as a research fellow in emergency care. This is a joint appointment between Griffith University and ...Read More

John Serginson

John Serginson

John Serginson has been a Nurse Practitioner employed in respiratory care at the Caboolture Hospital since 2010. He completed his ...Read More

Karen-Ann Clarke

Karen-Ann Clarke

Dr Karen-Ann Clarke is a Registered General and mental health nurse who has worked in a wide variety of acute ... Read More

James Smith

James Smith

Dr James Smith is a Public Health Physician at Metro North Public Health Unit in Windsor, Queensland. He moved to ... Read More

John Piispanen

John Piispanen

John Piispanen is the director of the Metro North Public Health Unit in Windsor, Queensland. John is an environmental health ... Read More

Ritchie Callaghan

Ritchie Callaghan

Senior Sergeant Ritchie Callaghan is the State Disaster Victim Identification Coordinator, Queensland. ... Read More

To Be Determined

To Be Determined


Disaster Nursing Conference
Speciality Classification
Provider Type
11 Hours | 0 Mins
Start Date
End Date
11 Hours | 0 Mins
Brisbane City QLD 4000
Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay
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