Simulation-based assessment and retraining for the anesthesiologist seeking reentry to clinical practice: a case series.

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Established models for assessment and maintenance of competency in anesthesiology may not be adequate for anesthesiologists wishing to reenter practice. The authors describe a program developed in their institution incorporating simulator-based education, to help determine competency in licensed and previously licensed anesthesiologists before return to practice.


The authors have used simulation for assessment and retraining at their institution since 2002. Physicians evaluated by the authors' center undergo an adaptable 2-day simulation-based assessment conducted by two board-certified anesthesiologists. A minimum of three cases are presented on each day, with specific core competencies assessed, and participants complete a standard Clinical Anesthesia Year 3 level anesthesia knowledge test. Participants are debriefed extensively and retraining regimens are designed, where indicated, consisting of a combination of simulation and operating-room observership.


Twenty anesthesiologists were referred to the authors' institution between 2002 and 2012. Fourteen participants (70%) were in active clinical practice 1 yr after participation in the authors' program, five (25%) were in supervised positions, and nine (45%) had resumed independent clinical practice. The reasons of participants not in practice were personal (1 participant) and medico-legal (3 participants); two participants were lost to follow-up. Two of 14 physicians, who were formally assessed in the authors' program, were deemed likely unfit for safe return to practice, irrespective of further training. These physicians were unavailable for contact 1 yr after assessment.


Anesthesiologists seeking to return to active clinical status are a heterogeneous group. The simulated environment provides an effective means by which to assess baseline competency and also a way to retrain physicians.

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