Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology

First Advisor

James L. Moseley


This study examined the capability of computer simulation as a tool for assessing the strategic competency of emergency department nurses as they responded to authentically computer simulated biohazard-exposed patient case studies. Thirty registered nurses from a large, urban hospital completed a series of computer-simulated case studies of virtual biohazard-exposed patients. The completed case studies were assessed by the host computer according to computer-programmed criteria. The same case studies were also assessed by a trio of emergency medicine physicians acting as subject matter experts according to their own criteria. The results of this study demonstrated a significant correlation between computer-assessed and physician-assessed simulation exercises against pre-determined performance objective criteria. The data suggests computer simulation can play an important role in emergency and disaster response that offers readily accessible cost-effective training where the opportunity for hands-on practice is limited or impractical. In addition, use of computer simulation can make an effective evaluation of emergency response preparedness possible at more frequent intervals and with greater efficiency.