Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 April 2017
Following the recommendations of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM; Madison, Wisconsin USA) to develop standards for training the undergraduates in disaster-relevant fields (2004), a German curriculum was approved in 2006. This paper aims to describe the level of training and interest of medical students nine years later.
The aim of this study was to assess the self-perception of medical students’ knowledge and interest in disaster medicine nine years after the implementation of a standardized disaster medicine curriculum in German medical schools.
This prospective, cross-sectional, observational study was conducted with medical students in Germany using a web-based, purpose-designed questionnaire consisting of 27 mandatory and 11 optional questions.
Nine hundred ninety-two students from 36 of 37 medical schools in Germany participated. More than one-half of medical students were aware of the field of disaster medicine. One hundred twenty-one students undertook training internally within their university and 307 undertook training externally at other institutions. Only a small content of the curriculum was taught. A difference in self-perception of knowledge between trained and untrained participants was found, despite the level of training being low in both groups. Participants were generally highly motivated to learn disaster medicine in a variety of institutions.
German students are still largely not well educated regarding disaster medicine, despite their high motivation. The curriculum of 2006 was not implemented as originally planned and the number of trained students still remains low as the self-perception of knowledge. Currently, there is no clear and standardized training concept in place. A renewal in the agreement of implementation of the curriculum at medical schools should be targeted in order to follow the recommendation of WADEM.
Conflicts of interest: none