Introduction: Education and training are key elements of health system preparedness vis-à-vis chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies. Medical respondents need sufficient knowledge and skills to manage the human impact of CBRN events.
Objective: The current study was designed to determine which competencies are needed by hospital staff when responding to CBRN emergencies, define educational needs to develop these competencies, and implement a suitable delivery method.
Methods: This study was carried out from September 2014 to February 2015, using a three-step modified Delphi method. On the basis of international experiences, publications, and experts' consensus, core competencies for hospital staff - as CBRN casualty receivers - were determined, and training curricula and delivery methods were defined.
Results: The course consists of 10 domains. These are as follows: threat identification; health effects of CBRN agents; planning; hospital incident command system; information management; safety, personal protective equipment and decontamination; medical management; essential resources; psychological support; and ethical considerations. Expected competencies for each domain were defined. A blended approach was chosen.
Conclusion: By identifying a set of core competencies, this study aimed to provide the specific knowledge and skills required by medical staff to respond to CRBN emergencies. A blended approach may be a suitable delivery method, allowing medical staff to attend the same training sessions despite different time zones and locations. The study output provides a CBRN training scheme that may be adapted and used at the European Union level.