Disaster preparedness: An interprofessional student incident command system simulation

Academic Article


  • Disasters are complex and require teams to navigate uncertain situations, communicate effectively across teams, craft unified messages, and address inputs from multiple stakeholders in real time. It is vital that students learn to work in interprofessional teams while they are in school so that when they become practicing professionals they have the teamwork and communication skills necessary to collaborate during a disaster. The aim of this interprofessional tabletop simulation was to engage first semester graduate health administration students and upper level undergraduate public health students in an incident command center response to an F5 tornado. Best practices in simulation design, including creating mutual objectives, promoting a safe learning environment, and utilizing a structured debriefing, were used to craft the incident command simulation. Evaluation of the simulation was conducted through direct observation, as well as surveys assessing knowledge gain and satisfaction. Evaluation of quantitative data indicated knowledge gain in incident command system sections and roles, job action sheets to perform necessary actions, and coordination of services to respond to a disaster. Students also reported high levels of satisfaction with the experience and improvements in teamwork and communication skills. Qualitative themes described characteristics of interprofessional education (role clarity, communication, collaboration, teamwork) and simulation (value of practice, complexity of response). Applying evidence-based practices to the design and implementation of this interprofessional simulation helped ensure students gained knowledge with incident command system structure and function and improved their ability to communicate.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Brown MR; Fifolt M; Lee H; Nabavi M; Kidd E; Viles A; Lee White M; McCormick LC
  • Volume

  • 27