Adaptability, Creativity and Ingenuity in Disaster Education
: Curriculum Challenges in Healthcare Provision

  • Kevin Davies

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    By their very nature disasters are emotive, challenging and dynamic events. This thesis is focused on the education, training and preparedness of healthcare professionals for deployment to some of the most demanding and potentially dangerous areas of the world. Education action research forms the conceptual framework that underpins the articulation of this PhD by portfolio. This thesis explores, analyses and evaluates the evolution of a curriculum that has significantly enhanced the preparation of healthcare professionals within this domain.

    The assessment phase of this process involved the identification of a dichotomy between the essential preparation of healthcare professionals who had undergone predominantly field based training versus higher education based preparation; neither of which on their own adequately prepared the practitioner for deployment to the field. This subsequently informed the curriculum planning process which was underpinned by the development of an eclectic curriculum focussed on constructivist and situated approaches. A cognitive apprenticeship framework was utilised to articulate the curriculum incorporating modelling of expertise in practice and the progressive Grafting of knowledge and skills for the most demanding of situations that practitioners may face in the field.

    The three projects presented here centre on the preamble to and evolution of the curriculum, the evaluation of the education strategies employed within the curriculum and students construction of requisite knowledge and skills. The third project focuses on the evaluation of the mandatory field placement where students apply the knowledge constructed in the domains of leadership, strategic and operational management and rigorous evaluation of the healthcare delivered.

    Graduates of this programme have deployed to every continent on the globe. Their significant contribution in the field of disaster healthcare is evidenced by the multinational roles that they are undertaking. In the true spirit and recursive and cyclical nature of action research these practitioners continue to inform the evolution of this curriculum.
    Date of AwardJun 2009
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJoyce Kenkre (Supervisor)

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