Stress levels during emergency care: A comparison between reality and simulated scenarios☆,☆☆


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Abstract

Purpose:Medical simulation is fast becoming a standard of health care training throughout undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education. Our aim was to evaluate if simulated scenarios have a high psychological fidelity and induce stress levels similarly to real emergency medical situations.Materials and Methods:Medical residents had their stress levels measured during emergency care (real-life and simulation) in baseline (T1) and immediately post-emergencies (T2). Parameters measuring acute stress were: heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, salivary α-amylase, salivary interleukin-1β, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory score.Results:Twenty-eight internal medicine residents participated in 32 emergency situations (16 real-life and 16 simulated emergencies). In the real-life group, all parameters increased significantly (P < .05) between T1 and T2. In the simulation group, only heart rate and interleukin-1β increased significantly after emergencies. The comparison between groups demonstrates that acute stress response (T2 – T1) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory score (in T2) did not differ between groups.Conclusions:Acute stress response did not differ between both groups. Our results indicate that emergency medicine simulation may create a high psychological fidelity environment similarly to what is observed in a real emergency room.

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