Disaster Preparedness Training Needs of Healthcare Workers at the US Department of Veterans Affairs

South Med J. 2022 Feb;115(2):158-163. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001358.


Objectives: Training healthcare workers in disaster preparedness has been shown to increase their willingness and ability to report to work during disasters. Little is known, however, about the relation between sociodemographic, household, and workforce characteristics and the desire for such training. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess healthcare workers' desire for additional workforce preparedness training, and the determinants that influence the need for such training, for three types of disasters (natural, pandemic, manmade).

Methods: The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Preparedness Survey was a random, anonymous, Web-based questionnaire fielded nationwide (October-December 2018). Multivariate, logistic regression analyses were conducted.

Results: In total, 4026 VA employees, clinical and nonclinical, responded. A total of 61% of respondents wanted additional training for natural, 63% for pandemic, and 68% for manmade disasters. VA supervisors (natural: odds ratio [OR] 1.28, pandemic: OR 1.33, manmade: OR 1.25, P < 0.05) and clinicians (natural: OR 1.24, pandemic: OR 1.24, manmade: OR 1.24, P < 0.05) were more likely to report the need for additional training. Those who reported that they understood their role in disaster response were less likely to report the need for training (natural: OR 0.25, pandemic: OR 0.27, manmade: OR 0.28, P < 0.001), whereas those who perceived their role to be important during response (natural: OR 2.20, pandemic: OR 2.78, manmade: OR 3.13, P < 0.001), and those who reported not being prepared at home for major disasters (natural: OR 1.85, pandemic: OR 1.92, manmade: OR 1.94, P < 0.001), were more likely to indicate a need for training.

Conclusions: Identifying which factors encourage participation in disaster preparedness training can help hospitals and other healthcare providers create targeted training and educational materials to better prepare all hospital staff for future disasters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Civil Defense / education*
  • Civil Defense / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / organization & administration
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / statistics & numerical data