Background: Man-made or natural disasters appear to be occurring more frequently around the world. It is important that nurses in all specialties should be prepared to care for people affected by disasters.
Aim: To explore Iranian Registered Nurses' experiences in disaster relief in the Bam earthquake, Iran in 2003.
Methods: This study was qualitative with 13 participant nurses. Data were obtained through semi-structured serial interviews and analysed using the latent content method.
Findings: Three general themes emerged: (a) the need for previously prepared practical protocols, (b) the need for qualified and real teamworking in the situation, and (c) the need to establish periodic comprehensive training programmes in disaster relief nursing.
Conclusion: It has become urgent for health agencies and related public services to collaborate, and for all health professionals to become knowledgeable about disaster preparedness. Crisis management, which has become more prevalent for many organizations, is an important strategic initiative for nursing, helping them provide the infrastructure to respond effectively to emergencies and unpredictable events. It is important in today's world that hospital and nursing organizations develop a strategic system to handle disaster situations.