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Healthcare students interprofessional critical event/disaster response course

Tae Eung Kim, MD, FACEP, Tamara Shankel, MD, Ellen T. Reibling, PhD, MA, Jacqueline Paik, MSN, RN, Dolores Wright, PhD, RN, Michelle Buckman, PhD, RN, Kathi Wild, MS, RN, Ehren Ngo, MS, Alireza Hayatshahi, PharmD, Lee H. Nguyen, PharmD, T. Kent Denmark, MD, FAAP, FACEP, Tamara L. Thomas, MD, FACEP


Objective: Numerous disasters confirm the need for critical event training in healthcare professions. However, no single discipline works in isolation and interprofessional learning is recognized as a necessary component. An interprofessional faculty group designed a learning curriculum crossing professional schools.

Design: Faculty members from four healthcare schools within the university (nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and medicine) developed an interdisciplinary course merging both published cross-cutting competencies for critical event response and interprofessional education competencies.

Setting: Students completed a discipline-specific online didactic course. Interdisciplinary groups then participated in a 4-hour synchronous experience. This live course featured high-fidelity medical simulations focused on resuscitation, as well as hands-on modules on decontamination and a mass casualty triage incorporating moulaged standardized patients in an active shooter scenario.

Participants: Participants were senior students from allied health, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy.

Main Outcome Measures: Precourse and postcourse assessments were conducted online to assess course impact on learning performance, leadership and team development, and course satisfaction.

Results: Students participated were 402. Precourse and postcourse evaluations showed improvement in team participation values, critical event knowledge, and 94 percent of participants reported learning useful skills. Qualitative responses evidenced positive response; most frequent recurring comments concerned value of interprofessional experiences in team communication and desire to incorporate this kind of education earlier in their curriculum. Students demonstrated improvement in both knowledge and attitudes in a critical event response course that includes interprofessional instruction and collaboration. Further study is required to demonstrate sustained improvement as well as benefit to clinical outcomes.


interprofessional, bioterrorism education, critical event education, simulated clinical training, disaster education, team communication

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