Exceptional circumstances in hospitals: how to prepare using exercises?


Selma van der Haar and Mien Segers

Further information

Introduction and position in the current literature

Sometimes, health care organizations face exceptional circumstances, such as a large number of acute patients due to a train accident or to a pandemic disease. In such cases, the organization needs to transform into a crisis management organization in which the staff has to fulfill up scaled roles and tasks. Fortunately, this does not happen every day. However, in order to be prepared, simulation exercises are used to enable staff to develop competences needed, to get acquainted with characteristics and requirements of such situations, and to build a network. Given the high costs in terms of time and budget, local and national government question the return on investment. To understand the effects of simulation exercises as well as to formulate directions for their design, it is necessary to map the features of simulation exercises that have been evidenced to realize learning effects. The project delivers a systematic review of educational and organizational features of effective emergency management simulation exercises in hospitals. Such a context specific review does not exist yet and bridges educational research and research on medical organizations. The project is the first step towards an empirically supported investigation and evaluation of the effectiveness of simulation exercises and their influence on hospital preparedness.

Research questions & hypothesis
What are the features of effective emergency management simulation exercises in hospitals?

Research methods
We conduct a systematic literature review. Interviews with key players in the field will be held to explore additional features based on best practices.

Results & follow-ups
The deliverables of this project will be the input for writing a future research proposal. The aim of that project will be to systematically evaluate the effects of redesigned emergency management simulation exercises organized to enhance preparedness of health care organizations.