Disaster Day: A Simulation-Based Competition for Educating Emergency Medicine Residents and Medical Students on Disaster Medicine


North Florida


Osceola Regional Medical Center

Document Type


Publication Date



Disaster medicine, Gamification, Mass casualty incident, Medical education, Simulation


Emergency Medicine | Medical Education


BACKGROUND: Disaster medicine is a growing field within the specialty of emergency medicine, but educational training typically focuses on hospital drills or other educational strategies, such as didactics, simulation, or tabletop exercises. With the success of gamification in other medical education applications, we sought to investigate if a novel gamified curricular innovation would lead to improved test performance and confidence in the ability to manage a real mass casualty incident (MCI).

METHODS: This was a prospective observational study of medical students and emergency medicine residents who participated in a 4-h simulation-based competition consisting of 4 unique stations. Each station had learning objectives associated with the content taught. Learners completed a pre-event survey, followed by participation in the competitive gamification event, and subsequently completed a post-event survey. Differences between pre- and post-event responses were matched and analyzed using paired and unpaired t tests for medical knowledge assessments, the Mann-Whitney U test for perceptions of confidence in the ability to manage an MCI event, and descriptive statistics provided on perceptions of the effectiveness of this educational strategy.

RESULTS: We analyzed data from 49 learners with matched (and unmatched) pre- and post-event survey responses. There was a statistically significant increase in medical knowledge assessment scores in both unmatched group means and available matched data (47 to 69%, p < 0.01, and 50 to 69%, p < 0.05). Self-reported confidence in the ability to handle an MCI scenario also significantly increased (p < 0.01). Finally, 100% of respondents indicated they "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that the event was an effective education tool for disaster preparedness and training.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that learners perceived a novel gamification event as an effective educational tool, which led to improved learner knowledge and self-reported confidence in the ability to manage a real MCI.

Publisher or Conference

International Journal of Emergency Medicine