Teaching leadership in trauma resuscitation: Immediate feedback from a real-time, competency-based evaluation tool shows long-term improvement in resident performance

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Limited data exist on how to develop resident leadership and communication skills during actual trauma resuscitations.


An evaluation tool was developed to grade senior resident performance as the team leader during full-trauma-team activations. Thirty actions that demonstrated the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies were graded on a Likert scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (exceptional). These actions were grouped by their respective core competencies on 5 × 7-inch index cards. In Phase 1, baseline performance scores were obtained. In Phase 2, trauma-focused communication in-services were conducted early in the academic year, and immediate, personalized feedback sessions were performed after resuscitations based on the evaluation tool. In Phase 3, residents received only evaluation-based feedback following resuscitations.


In Phase 1 (October 2009 to April 2010), 27 evaluations were performed on 10 residents. In Phase 2 (April 2010 to October 2010), 28 evaluations were performed on nine residents. In Phase 3 (October 2010 to January 2012), 44 evaluations were performed on 13 residents. Total scores improved significantly between Phases 1 and 2 (p = 0.003) and remained elevated throughout Phase 3. When analyzing performance by competency, significant improvement between Phases 1 and 2 (p < 0.05) was seen in all competencies (patient care, knowledge, system-based practice, practice-based learning) with the exception of “communication and professionalism” (p = 0.56). Statistically similar scores were observed between Phases 2 and 3 in all competencies with the exception of “medical knowledge,” which showed ongoing significant improvement (p = 0.003).


Directed resident feedback sessions utilizing data from a real-time, competency-based evaluation tool have allowed us to improve our residents’ abilities to lead trauma resuscitations over a 30-month period. Given pressures to maximize clinical educational opportunities among work-hour constraints, such a model may help decrease the need for costly simulation-based training.


Therapeutic study, level III.

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