Monthly Archives: March 2018

Guiding Disaster Training Using the ICN Disaster Competencies

Nurses who volunteer to be disaster responders need education and training founded in disaster nurse competencies. The International Council of Nursing Framework of Disaster Nurse Competencies (FDNC; Dorsey, 2009), edited by the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nursing, should be considered as a guide in the education and practice of volunteer disaster nurses to ensure an effective delivery of healthcare during and after a disaster event. The FDNC allows the volunteer disaster nurse to learn basic disaster context. It is structured using four domains: mitigation/prevention competencies, preparedness competencies, response competencies; and recovery/rehabilitation competencies. These four domains are further divided into 10 sub-domains.

The FDNC were written in 2009 and have not been updated, something that is needed. The competencies were offered as an option for countries that do not have such competencies already in place and, for those countries that do have competencies, as a means of updating/validating their competencies, to guide research, and to provide a framework for training nursing students and nurses who volunteer in disasters.

To ensure that volunteer disaster nurses possess adequate knowledge, skills, and abilities to respond in a disaster, these nurses need education and training founded in disaster nurse competencies, possibly those of the FDNC. This will protect populations devastated by disasters and ensure those nurses who volunteer and respond to these disaster do so with the requisite skills and knowledge needed.

Deborah S. Adelman, PhD, RN, NE-BC
Professor, Graduate Nursing Programs, Purdue University Global

Laura Kay Wood, DNP(c), MSN, CMCN, RN
Professor, Graduate Nursing Programs, Purdue University Global


Suggested Resources

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. (2016). 2017-2022 health care preparedness and response capabilities. Retrieved from

Dorsey, D. M. (2009). ICN framework of disaster nursing competencies. Retrieved from

EM-DAT: The International Disaster Database Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters-CRED. (2017). Home. Retrieved from

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. (2016). 2015 disasters in numbers. Retrieved from

World Disaster Report. (2016). Resilience: Saving lives today, investing for tomorrow. Retrieved from