Who else will be ready for the next major incident?

Regis Rugira Marie Modeste, Lecturer,
July 19, 2011

Dear Editor,

I found this article that highlights junior doctors' lack of awareness with regard to the procedures in case of a major incident, interesting. It covers an important aspect of emergency planning and preparedness, which stimulated my thinking. As a health professional educator, the article's findings drew to my attention the need to strengthen the integration of such procedures into the pre-service curriculum. Education institutions that train health professionals have the responsibility of preparing new graduates with the necessary competencies so that they can practice effectively. The mastery of such competencies allows smooth running of hospitals especially in case of major incidents that require professionals to know how to respond quickly.

A teaching intervention was implemented to raise the awareness of major incidents and related procedures. The advantages of in-service training such as this have been documented in the literature and this intervention was noted to be highly effective when assessed immediately after the intervention. However, many in-service training interventions result in positive changes but such changes tend to be short-lived. It has been documented that benefits of in-service training on various aspects of care do not last long with regard to changing practice (Gammon, Morgan- Samuel & Gould, 2008, Opiyo & English, 2010). As health professional educators, we need to recognize that in-service training can only act as a supplement to comprehensive pre-service training.

A final issue to consider is to establish the level of awareness in other professions that have a role in managing a major incident. In case of such an incident, all health professionals, such as nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, need to be well prepared to be able to act effectively and efficiently. Establishing this ensures timely intervention to prepare all health professionals in case of a major incident.

Gammon J, Morgan-Samuel H & Gould D (2008) A review of the evidence for suboptimal compliance of healthcare practitioners to standard/universal infection control precautions. Journal of Clinical Nursing 17, 157-167

Opiyo N, English M. (2010) In-service training for health professionals to improve care of the seriously ill newborn or child in low and middle-income countries (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD007071. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007071.pub2

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

Conflict of Interest

None declared