Identification of Gaps in the Achievement of Undergraduate Anesthesia Educational Objectives Using High-Fidelity Patient Simulation

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In this study we sought to identify educational gaps in medical students’ knowledge using human patient simulation. The Undergraduate Committee developed 10 scenarios based on anesthesia curriculum objectives. Checklists were designed by asking 15 faculty members involved in undergraduate education to propose expected performance items at a level appropriate for medical students. These items consisted of essential performance items as well as critical management omissions. Checklists were used to score students’ videotaped performances. Checklist items common to more than one scenario were grouped for data analysis and identification of gaps in achievement of educational objectives. Eighteen groupings of expected performance criteria and 8 groupings of critical management omissions were established. Performance data of 165 students were analyzed. Common management omissions were lack of adequate airway management, failure to check blood pressure, and failure to stop the anesthetic. Students reliably performed defibrillation, notation of vital signs, auscultation of lung fields, and administration of IV fluids. The most common critical omissions were failing to a) call for help, b) take a history/do physical examination, and c) prepare airway equipment. Management and critical omissions noted during performance assessments provide information regarding students’ educational needs, enabling faculty to focus attention on demonstrated areas of weakness.

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