A comprehensive disaster training program to improve emergency physicians’ preparedness: A 1-year pilot study
Keywords:disaster training, emergency physicians, emergency preparedness, medical education, clinical competence
Objectives: The main objective of this pilot study was to measure the effectiveness of a 1-year comprehensive training program on the long-term cognitive competence in disaster preparedness among attending emergency physicians (EPs).
Design: Ten attending EPs participated in a yearlong training program in disaster preparedness and management. A baseline pretraining test and self-evaluation questionnaire were administered to the participants. Post-training written test and self-evaluation questionnaire were repeated at 12 months after the completion of the program.
Setting: The study took place at an urban tertiary care medical center from July 2007 to June 2008.
Interventions: The training program was divided into three main categories: didactic core topics, formally recognized courses, and a practicum (drill).
Main outcome measures: Pretraining and posttraining test scores in addition to pretraining and posttraining self-assessments were compared for disaster preparedness in various areas.
Results: There was a statistically significant increase in the overall post-test versus pretest scores on the written examination for the entire group (44.4 vs 29.8, p < 0.005). In addition, statistically significant increases in each area of disaster preparedness were noted for the self-assessments (2.7 _ 0.82 vs 3.9 _ 0.56, p _ 0.01), where 1 means not prepared at all and 5 means extremely well prepared.
Conclusions: Disaster preparedness is an essential area of clinical competence for EPs. Participation in a yearlong pilot training program demonstrated a statistically significant increase in cognitive competence among a pilot sample of EPs. More research is needed to validate the content of the training program and its instruments of evaluation.
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