The standardized live patient and mechanical patient models—their roles in trauma teaching

Jameel Ali, Khalid Al Ahmadi, Jack Ivan Williams, Robert Allen Cherry
Journal of Trauma 2009, 66 (1): 98-102

BACKGROUND: We have previously demonstrated improved medical student performance using standardized live patient models in the Trauma Evaluation and Management (TEAM) program. The trauma manikin has also been offered as an option for teaching trauma skills in this program. In this study, we compare performance using both models.

METHODS: Final year medical students were randomly assigned to three groups: group I (n = 22) with neither model, group II (n = 24) with patient model, and group III (n = 24) with mechanical model using the same clinical scenario. All students completed pre-TEAM and post-TEAM multiple choice question (MCQ) exams and an evaluation questionnaire scoring five items on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest. The items were objectives were met, knowledge improved, skills improved, overall satisfaction, and course should be mandatory. Students (groups II and III) then switched models, rating preferences in six categories: more challenging, more interesting, more dynamic, more enjoyable learning, more realistic, and overall better model. Scores were analyzed by ANOVA with p < 0.05 being considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: All groups had similar scores (means % +/- SD)in the pretest (group I - 50.8 +/- 7.4, group II - 51.3 +/- 6.4, group III - 51.1 +/- 6.6). All groups improved their post-test scores but groups II and III scored higher than group I with no difference in scores between groups II and III (group I - 77.5 +/- 3.8, group II - 84.8 +/- 3.6, group III - 86.3 +/- 3.2). The percent of students scoring 5 in the questionnaire are as follows: objectives met - 100% for all groups; knowledge improved: group I - 91%, group II - 96%, group III - 92%; skills improved: group I - 9%, group II - 83%, group III - 96%; overall satisfaction: group I - 91%, group II - 92%, group III - 92%; should be mandatory: group I - 32%, group II - 96%, group III - 100%. Student preferences (48 students) are as follows: the mechanical model was more challenging (44 of 48); more interesting (40 of 48); more dynamic (46 of 48); more enjoyable (48 of 48); more realistic (32/48), and better overall model (42 of 48).

CONCLUSIONS: Using the TEAM program, we have demonstrated that improvement in knowledge and skills are equally enhanced by using mechanical or patient models in trauma teaching. However, students overwhelmingly preferred the mechanical model.

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