Impact of an educational intervention on residents' knowledge of pediatric disaster medicine

Mark X Cicero, Eileen Blake, Noelle Gallant, Lei Chen, Lauren Esposito, Magdelena Guerrero, Carl R Baum
Pediatric Emergency Care 2009, 25 (7): 447-51

BACKGROUND: Globally, natural and created events have underscored the vulnerability of children in disasters. There is an unmet need for a standardized pediatric disaster medicine (PDM) curriculum.

OBJECTIVE: To create and implement a PDM course, measure course efficacy, and assess residents' attitudes toward and experience in disaster medicine.

DESIGN/METHODS: An educational intervention was conducted for pediatric and emergency medicine residents at a tertiary care teaching hospital. Participants completed a precourse survey of PDM attitudes and experience. Paired t tests were used to compare pretest, immediate posttest, and delayed posttest scores. Test performance was assessed by resident type and postgraduate year. A postcourse survey gauged reaction to the course and interest in further PDM training.

RESULTS: Among the participants, 11 residents (9.4%) have treated disaster victims, and 5 (4.3%) had formal disaster medicine education. Most (83%) felt PDM is an important part of their training. Seventy-five eligible residents (64.6%) completed the intervention. Pairwise comparison of scores showed a mean improvement in scores of 24.5% immediately after taking the course (95% confidence interval, 22.9%-30.1%; P < 0.001). Two months later, residents scored a mean of 69.0% for the delayed posttest, with a retained improvement in scores (18.3%; 95% confidence interval, 14.3%-22.3%; P < 0.001). Residents preferred future PDM exercises to additional didactic training (72.0% vs. 32.7%; P < 0.001%).

CONCLUSIONS: Residents who complete this curriculum increase their knowledge of PDM with moderate retention of information. Most residents lack PDM training, believe it is important, and request disaster-training exercises.

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