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Integrated Decision-Making in Response to Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents: Development and Initial Evaluation of a Course for Healthcare Professionals

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2012

Erica Pryor*
Affiliation:
University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Nursing, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Emily Heck
Affiliation:
University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Center for Emergency Care and Disaster Preparedness, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Linda Norman
Affiliation:
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Betsy Weiner
Affiliation:
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Rick Mathews
Affiliation:
Louisiana State University, National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
James Black
Affiliation:
University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Center for Emergency Care and Disaster Preparedness, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Thomas Terndrup
Affiliation:
University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Center for Emergency Care and Disaster Preparedness, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
*
Erica Pryor, PhD, RN University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Nursing Building, Room 235, 1701 University Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35294-1210 USA E-mail: erpphd@uab.edu

Abstract

Introduction:

Standardized, validated training programs for teaching administrative decision-making to healthcare professionals responding to weapons of mass destruction (weapons of mass destruction) incidents have not been available. Therefore, a multidisciplinary team designed, developed, and offered a four-day, functional exercise, competency-based course at a national training center.

Objective:

This report provides a description of the development and initial evaluation of the course in changing participants' perceptions of their capabilities to respond to weapons of mass destruction events.

Methods:

Course participants were healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, emergency medical services administrators, hospital administrators, and public health officials. Each course included three modified tabletop and/or real-time functional exercises. A total of 441 participants attended one of the eight course offerings between March and August 2003. An intervention group only, pre-post design was used to evaluate change in perceived capabilities related to administrative decision-making for weapons of mass destruction incidents. Paired evaluation data were available on 339 participants (81.9%). Self-ratings for each of 21 capability statements were compared before and after the course. A 19-item total scale score for each participant was calculated from the pre-course and post-course evaluations. Paired t-tests on pre- and postcourse total scores were conducted separately for each course.

Results:

There was consistent improvement in self-rated capabilities after course completion for all 21 capability statements. Paired t-tests of pre- and postcourse total scale scores indicated a significant increase in mean ratings for each course (all p <0.001).

Conclusion:

The tabletop/real-time-exercise format was effective in increasing healthcare administrators' self-rated capabilities related to weapons of mass destruction disaster management and response. Integrating the competencies into training interventions designed for a specific target audience and deploying them into an interactive learning environment allowed the competency-based training objectives to be accomplished.

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2006

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References

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