The Disaster Workforce: Tales from the Trench a Discursive paper on Missionaries, Mercenaries and Misfits in the field

International Journal of Nursing and Health Science
© 2021 by SSRG - IJNHS Journal
Volume 7 Issue 1
Year of Publication : 2021
Authors : Joanne Louise Harding
How to Cite?

Joanne Louise Harding, "The Disaster Workforce: Tales from the Trench a Discursive paper on Missionaries, Mercenaries and Misfits in the field," SSRG International Journal of Nursing and Health Science, vol. 7,  no. 1, pp. 15-19, 2021. Crossref,


A. Aims: The aim of this discursive article is to discuss the often-unreported issue of the lack of standardization of health care recruitment and competence in the workplace with health care professionals in the disaster environment whilst looking at the individuals it attracts. This will be taken from my personal experiences throughout my career and supported by the available literature.
B. Background: The Frequency of disasters is on the increase. With the surge of disaster response and disaster relief deployed by countries wanting to help, there must be a sufficient specialized workforce ready to respond. The inadequate and lack of standardization in the recruitment of healthcare professionals in disaster response is seen repeatedly, with evidence showing incompetent, undertrained, prepared, and unsuitable healthcare workers continuing to be deployed. Which increases risk, decreases continuation of care, and works against what we are used to in first-world countries. Of course, a disaster is not an everyday occurrence and will be different, but there need to be a “middle ground” and standards met regardless.
C. Design: This discursive paper is based on my experience and training in disaster settings as both a military and civilian nurse. It also critically analyses and highlights a gap in the literature around evidence-based recruitment of healthcare professionals in disasters.
D. Method: My personal experience identifies the problems of the workforce personnel and recruitment process in disaster. Pub Med and CIANAHL databases were utilized for the literature search.
E. Conclusion: The need for education, training, preparation, support, and standardization in disaster and the recruitment for disasters is explored in this paper and highlighted as an area that needs to be developed further, whilst highlighting the need for further research to be undertaken in these fields.


disaster, disaster nursing, disaster recruitment, disasters nurse competencies, standardization, recruitment, specialized, organization, Non-Government Organisation (NGO).


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