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BMC Med Educ. 2006 Mar 20;6:19.

Healthcare worker competencies for disaster training.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



Although training and education have long been accepted as integral to disaster preparedness, many currently taught practices are neither evidence-based nor standardized. The need for effective evidence-based disaster training of healthcare staff at all levels, including the development of standards and guidelines for training in the multi-disciplinary health response to major events, has been designated by the disaster response community as a high priority. We describe the application of systematic evidence-based consensus building methods to derive educational competencies and objectives in criteria-based preparedness and response relevant to all hospital healthcare workers.


The conceptual development of cross-cutting competencies incorporated current evidence through a systematic consensus building process with the following steps: (1) review of peer-reviewed literature on relevant content areas and educational theory; (2) structured review of existing competencies, national level courses and published training objectives; (3) synthesis of new cross-cutting competencies; (4) expert panel review; (5) refinement of new competencies and; (6) development of testable terminal objectives for each competency using similar processes covering requisite knowledge, attitudes, and skills.


Seven cross-cutting competencies were developed: (1) Recognize a potential critical event and implement initial actions; (2) Apply the principles of critical event management; (3) Demonstrate critical event safety principles; (4) Understand the institutional emergency operations plan; (5) Demonstrate effective critical event communications; (6) Understand the incident command system and your role in it; (7) Demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed to fulfill your role during a critical event. For each of the cross-cutting competencies, comprehensive terminal objectives are described.


Cross-cutting competencies and objectives developed through a systematic evidence-based consensus building approach may serve as a foundation for future hospital healthcare worker training and education in disaster preparedness and response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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