Increasing emergency medicine residents' confidence in disaster management: use of an emergency department simulator and an expedited curriculum

Jeffrey Michael Franc, Darren Nichols, Sandy L Dong
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine 2012, 27 (1): 31-5

INTRODUCTION: Disaster Medicine is an increasingly important part of medicine. Emergency Medicine residency programs have very high curriculum commitments, and adding Disaster Medicine training to this busy schedule can be difficult. Development of a short Disaster Medicine curriculum that is effective and enjoyable for the participants may be a valuable addition to Emergency Medicine residency training.

METHODS: A simulation-based curriculum was developed. The curriculum included four group exercises in which the participants developed a disaster plan for a simulated hospital. This was followed by a disaster simulation using the Disastermed.Ca Emergency Disaster Simulator computer software Version 3.5.2 (Disastermed.Ca, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) and the disaster plan developed by the participants. Progress was assessed by a pre- and post-test, resident evaluations, faculty evaluation of Command and Control, and markers obtained from the Disastermed.Ca software.

RESULTS: Twenty-five residents agreed to partake in the training curriculum. Seventeen completed the simulation. There was no statistically significant difference in pre- and post-test scores. Residents indicated that they felt the curriculum had been useful, and judged it to be preferable to a didactic curriculum. In addition, the residents' confidence in their ability to manage a disaster increased on both a personal and and a departmental level.

CONCLUSIONS: A simulation-based model of Disaster Medicine training, requiring approximately eight hours of classroom time, was judged by Emergency Medicine residents to be a valuable component of their medical training, and increased their confidence in personal and departmental disaster management capabilities.

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