19 Feb 2013
National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, AKO Aotearoa has highly commended a study of CPIT staff responses to the February 2011 earthquake.
A research team led by senior academic Dr Lesley Seaton investigated actions taken by the institute’s Department of Nursing staff and the impact of a sudden, traumatic event on teaching and learning.
Dr Seaton said that the research is important as it would help other institutions plan for emergencies.
“The study is unique in that it is a case study extending over 18 months, when teaching and learning was happening at the same time as around 10,000 earthquakes. We looked at the ways staff kept themselves and their students safe, and kept the Bachelor of Nursing programme running, despite personal and professional challenges”.
Department's commitment and flexibility enabled students
CPIT’s Madras St campus was cordoned off within the city red zone following the earthquake. Nursing staff firstly focused on volunteering their skills and then rallied to re-establish the nursing programmes. CPIT’s Department of Nursing was relocated to Lincoln University and thanks to the department’s flexibility and commitment all nursing students were able to sit their state nursing exams as planned at the end of the year.
Dr Seaton said the study, which combined interviews and surveys with a review of emails and communications over the 18 month period, focused on the efficacy of individual actions and institutional systems and revealed the need to remain aware of and vigilant about preparedness.
“While planning does not always mean preparedness, we did find that there are things we can do as individuals, and as organisations, to keep ourselves safe and make responding to a disaster easier. Small things, like storing current contact details of staff members externally, will make communication easier in the aftermath of a disaster. Larger steps, like organisational planning around IT and communication, also need to be thought through.
Preparedness a national issue
“As the second anniversary of the February 22nd earthquake approaches, it seems timely to consider what we have learned and what action we have subsequently taken because what we also learnt is that we all need to keep preparedness in our consciousness.”
The study, which was awarded a funding grant by AKO Aotearoa, was presented at the Australian Nurse Educators Conference and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Research Conference last year. It was highly praised by AKO Aotearoa reviewers as a particularly strong piece of work and is now available to nursing educators and the public online.
“Being prepared is a national issue, not just a Christchurch one. This study can help us all,” Dr Seaton said. The study summary is available on the AKO Aotearoa website.