Crisis resource management training for an anaesthesia faculty: a new approach to continuing education

Richard H Blum, Daniel B Raemer, John S Carroll, Neelakantan Sunder, David M Felstein, Jeffrey B Cooper
Medical Education 2004, 38 (1): 45-55

BACKGROUND: Human error and system failures continue to play a substantial role in adverse outcomes in health care. Anaesthesia crisis resource management addresses many patient safety issues by teaching behavioural skills for critical events but it has not been systematically utilized to teach experienced faculty.

METHODS: An anaesthesia crisis resource management course was created for the faculty of our medical school's anaesthesia teaching programmes. The course objectives were to understand and improve participants' proficiency in crisis resource management (CRM) skills and to learn skills for debriefing residents after critical events. Through surveys, measurement objectives assessed acceptance, utility and need for recurrent training immediately post-course. These were measured again approximately 1 year later along with self-perceived changes in the management of difficult or critical events.

RESULTS: The highly rated course was well received in terms of overall course quality, realism, debriefings and didactic presentation. Course usefulness, CRM principles, debriefing skills and communication were highly rated immediately post-course and 1 year later. Approximately half of the faculty staff reported a difficult or critical event following the course; of nine self-reported CRM performance criteria surveyed all claimed improvement in their CRM non-technical skills.

CONCLUSIONS: A unique and highly rated anaesthesia faculty course was created; participation made the faculty staff eligible for malpractice premium reductions. Self-reported CRM behaviours in participants' most significant difficult or critical events indicated an improvement in performance. These data provide indirect evidence supporting the contention that this type of training should be more widely promoted, although more definitive measures of improved outcomes are needed.

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