Health Professional Students' Knowledge of Emergency Preparedness: An Interprofessional Investigation
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine inter-professional knowledge of emergency preparedness in multidisciplinary health professional students at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania Methods/Description: In the fall of 2018, a survey was conducted among multidisciplinary health professional programs at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. The following students agreed to participate in the study: 80 PT students, 25 OT students, 20 RN students, 43 PA students, 12 Radiological Students, 11 Respiratory Therapy students, and 14 Athletic Training students. The Emergency Preparedness Information Questionnaire (EPIQ) was utilized and modified with permission from the original authors. The survey was conducted by means of a questionnaire given in online format with the use of a Likert scale for grading of individual responses. The first section of the survey collected information pertaining the students’ demographics, program of study, type of clinical experiences, amount of clinical experiences, and if the student had any previous medical experience. The second section focused on realistic, hypothetical scenarios that could occur within their clinical experiences and their perceived level of knowledge pertaining to that situation in the event of an emergency. Once the survey results were collected, the investigators tallied the results from each question and determined familiarity for each question based on greater than 50% of the responses from each discipline. Simple descriptive statistics were used to evaluate the results. Results/Outcomes: The results of this study revealed inconsistent familiarity with emergency preparedness and disaster training steps between students enrolled in health professional programs. Physical therapy and occupational therapy students reported the least familiarity in majority of the areas related to the emergency response process. Athletic training and nursing students reported the greatest familiarity with the emergency preparedness process. Respiratory technology and physician assistant reports remained more neutral in knowledge. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The results of this study identify deficits present in health professional education and clinical training related to knowledge and familiarity of emergency preparedness scenarios identified by students from multiple health professional programs. The most effective response to an emergency includes a well-trained and prepared medical staff. The opportunity to promote effective training should start in the classroom with continual development in the clinical environment. While the hope is that no one will encounter a disaster scenario, the chances are increasing with today’s weather pattern changes and increased violent attacks.