Physicians are key disaster responders in foreign medical teams (FMTs) that provide medical relief to affected people. However, few studies have examined the skills required for physicians in real, international, disaster-response situations.
The objectives of this study were to survey the primary skills required for physicians from a Japanese FMT and to examine whether there were differences in the frequencies of performed skills according to demographic characteristics, previous experience, and dispatch situations to guide future training and certification programs.
This cross-sectional survey used a self-administered questionnaire given to 64 physicians with international disaster-response site experience. The questionnaire assessed demographic characteristics (sex, age, years of experience as a physician, affiliation, and specialty), previous experience (domestic disaster-relief experience, international disaster-relief experience, or disaster medicine training experience), and dispatch situation (length of dispatch, post-disaster phase, disaster type, and place of dispatch). In addition, the frequencies of 42 performed skills were assessed via a five-point Likert scale. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the participants’ characteristics and total scores as the frequencies of performed skills. Mean scores for surgical skills, health care-related skills, public health skills, and management and coordination skills were compared according to the demographic characteristics, previous experience, and dispatch situations.
Fifty-two valid questionnaires (81.3% response rate) were collected. There was a trend toward higher skill scores among those who had more previous international disaster-relief experience (P=.03). The more disaster medicine training experience the participants had, the higher their skill score was (P<.001). Physicians reported involvement in 23 disaster-relief response skills, nine of which were performed frequently. There was a trend toward higher scores for surgical skills, health care-related skills, and management and coordination skills related to more disaster medicine training experience.
This study’s findings can be used as evidence to boost the frequency of physicians’ performed skills by promoting previous experience with international disaster relief and disaster medicine training. Additionally, these results may contribute to enhancing the quality of medical practice in the international disaster relief and disaster training curricula.
. What Kinds of Skills Are Necessary for Physicians Involved in International Disaster Response?
Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(4):397–406.