A Simulation-Based Program to Train Medical Residents to Lead and Perform Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support

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Mihaela S. Stefan, MD; Raquel K. Belforti, DO; Gerard Langlois, PA; and Michael B. Rothberg, MD, MPH

Table of Contents

Hospital Practice:

Volume 39 No. 4

Category:

Clinical Focus

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DOI: 10.3810/hp.2011.10.923
Abstract
Background: Medical residents are often responsible for leading and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation; however, their levels of expertise and comfort as leaders of advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) teams vary widely. While the current American Heart Association ACLS course provides education in recommended resuscitative protocols, training in leadership skills is insufficient. In this article, we describe the design and implementation in our institution of a formative curriculum aimed at improving residents’ readiness for being leaders of ACLS teams using human patient simulation. Human patient simulation refers to a variety of technologies using mannequins with realistic features, which allows learners to practice through scenarios without putting patients at risk. We discuss the limitations of the program and the challenges encountered in implementation. We also provide a description of the initiation and organization of the program. Case scenarios and assessment tools are provided. Description of the Institutional Training Program: Our simulation-based training curriculum consists of 8 simulated patient scenarios during four 1-hour sessions. Postgraduate year–2 and 3 internal medicine residents participate in this program in teams of 4. Assessment tools are utilized only for formative evaluation. Debriefing is used as a teaching strategy for the individual resident leader of the ACLS team to facilitate learning and improve performance. To evaluate the impact of the curriculum, we administered a survey before and after the intervention. The survey consisted of 10 questions answered on a 5-point Likert scale, which addressed residents’ confidence in leading ACLS teams, management of the equipment, and management of cardiac rhythms. Respondents’ mean presimulation (ie, baseline) and postsimulation (ie, outcome) scores were compared using a 2-sample t test. Residents’ overall confidence score improved from 2.8 to 3.9 (P < 0.001; mean improvement, 1.1; 95% confidence interval, 0.7–1.6). The average score for performing and leading ACLS teams improved from 2.8 to 4 (P < 0.001; mean difference, 1.2; 95% confidence interval, 0.7–1.7). There was a uniform increase in the residents’ self-confidence in their role as effective leaders of ACLS teams, and residents valued this simulation-based training program.

Keywords: curriculum; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; human patient simulation; residents; advanced cardiovascular life support