Disaster preparedness in healthcare professionals amid COVID-19 and beyond: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Zhaohui Su, Dean McDonnell, Junaid Ahmad, Ali Cheshmehzangi

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review


Background: Disasters like COVID-19 are oftentimes inevitable, which makes disaster preparedness indispensable to global health and social stability. However, there is a dearth of understanding of how well healthcare professionals, who often have to work at the epicenter of disasters as they evolve, are trained to be sufficiently prepared for these crises. To this end, this study aims to examine the characteristics and effectiveness of existing interventions that aim to improve healthcare professionals’ disaster preparedness. Methods: We searched RCTs that aim to improve healthcare professionals’ disaster preparedness in databases including PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Scopus. Results were screened against the eligibility criteria. The review was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020192517) and conducted following the PRISMA guidelines. Results: A total of 7382 articles were screened for eligibility, among which, 27 RCTs, incorporating 35,145, met the inclusion criteria. Review results show that most of the eligible RCTs were conducted in high-income countries. Only two RCTs were developed in disaster contexts that share similarities with COVID-19. Most of the interventions did not address critical disaster coping abilities, such as how can healthcare professionals protect or improve their personal or the general public's mental health amid pandemics. Furthermore, almost half of the disaster preparedness RCTs failed to generate statistically significant outcomes. Conclusions: Albeit inevitable, disasters are preventable. Our study results underscore the imperative of designing and developing effective and comprehensive interventions that could boost healthcare professionals’ disaster preparedness, so that these frontline workers can better protect personal and public health amid global crises like COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103583
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Emergency management
  • Healthcare professionals
  • RCTs
  • Randomized controlled trials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Disaster preparedness in healthcare professionals amid COVID-19 and beyond: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this