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The Radiation Injury Treatment Network (RITN) is prepared to respond to a national disaster resulting in mass casualties with marrow toxic injuries. How effective existing RITN workforce education and training is, or whether health-care providers (HCPs) at these centers possess the knowledge and skills to care for patients following a radiation emergency is unclear. HCP knowledge regarding the medical effects and medical management of radiation-exposed patients, along with clinical competence and willingness to care for patients following a radiation emergency was assessed.
An online survey was conducted to assess level of knowledge regarding the medical effects of radiation, medical/nursing management of patients, self-perception of clinical competence, and willingness to respond to radiation emergencies and nuclear events.
Attendance at previous radiation emergency management courses and overall knowledge scores were low for all respondents. The majority indicated they were willing to respond to a radiation event, but few believed they were clinically competent to do so.
Despite willingness to respond, HCPs at RITN centers may not possess adequate knowledge of medical management of radiation patients, and appropriate response actions during a radiation emergency. RITN should increase the awareness of the importance of radiation education and training.