A Simulation Course on Lifesaving Techniques for Third-Year Medical Students

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Background:The University of Virginia School of Medicine discontinued animal vivisection in February 2004 for teaching lifesaving procedures to third-year medical students. Consequently, a 1-day course using simulation technology was developed to meet objectives previously covered in the animal laboratory. The authors sought to evaluate the course and hypothesized that the students’ confidence in lifesaving procedures as well as their acceptance of simulation technology as a teaching tool would increase.Methods:The course was designed in a two-session format. The first session (first half of the day) concentrated on individual procedure skills, utilizing part-task trainers. The second session (second half of the day) used a Medical Education Technologies Inc. (METI) Emergency Care Simulator (ECS) full-body patient simulator to present a major trauma scenario. The study design was a prospective, pretest-posttest study without a control group. A 10-question pre and post survey used a Likert scale to explore students’ confidence in their skills as well as their acceptance of simulation technology. A course evaluation used a similar Likert scale for evaluation of the course substations, the trauma scenario, and students’ self-assessment of their skill levels as well as a 100% point scale for an overall rating of the course.Results:A total of eight 1-day courses were successfully held over 2 years with a total enrollment of 240 students utilizing 20 instructors inclusive of faculty, residents, and other emergency medicine health care providers. For the pre and post survey results, there was a significant increase in students’ confidence in performing lifesaving procedures as well as their acceptance of simulation as a teaching tool (P < 0.05 for each question with pre n = 222 and post n = 226). For the course evaluation results (n = 190), all of the course substations were rated in the good to excellent range and the course received an overall score of 97.55 ± 7.23% out of 100%. Furthermore, students reported a significant increase in their skill level (P < 0.05).Conclusion:This lifesaving techniques course utilizing simulation technology successfully covered objectives previously taught with animal vivisection, increased students’ confidence levels in performing lifesaving procedures and was highly accepted by the medical students.

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