Introduction: At most teaching hospitals, first- and second-year residents respond to a “Stroke Alert” where “Time is Brain.” Interpreting neurologic signs and symptoms and acute management of stroke is complex. In many medical specialties, simulated instruction improves performance and addresses patient safety needs without harm to, or practice upon, a real-live patient. Thus, we designed a virtual stroke patient simulation training course: to boost knowledge, skill sets, and confidence in managing hyperacute stroke scenarios with this new first-responder audience in mind.
Hypothesis: We hypothesize that performance outcomes, as measured by Declarative and Procedural (Skill Sets) Knowledge and Confidence will improve over the 1.5-day period of a virtual stroke patient simulated training course.
Methodology: Incoming Neurology residents and medical students with minimal exposure to stroke care underwent the aforementioned stroke simulation course at the Center for Advance Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in Tampa, Florida, USA. It included 3 lectures on acute stroke care by USF faculty and 10 simulated scenarios of “Stroke Alerts” using standardized actors and electronic patient simulators. After each scenario, debriefing reviewed participants’ performance in Declarative and Procedural (Skill Set) Knowledge and Confidence. Results were analyzed using Likert scale on data collected prior to, and after, the course.
Results: A repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated that, compared to pre-testing, post-testing data for Declarative and Procedural (Skill Set) Knowledge (F=14.05, p=.002) and Confidence (F=33.37, p<.001) of Acute Stroke management improved significantly for both residents and medical students alike.
Conclusion: In conclusion, simulation training for acute stroke management is statistically and significantly effective for neurology residents and medical students. Simulation training addresses patient safety needs without harm to, or practice upon, real-live patients. Neurology residency programs across the country should consider designing similar programs or utilizing ours at CAMLS for optimal stroke care among beginning residents at the front line of stroke patient care.