Comparison of a modified longitudinal simulation-based advanced cardiovascular life support to a traditional advanced cardiovascular life support curriculum in third-year medical students

Paul Y Ko, Jay M Scott, Aurel Mihai, William D Grant
Teaching and Learning in Medicine 2011, 23 (4): 324-30

BACKGROUND: Simulation is an effective tool for teaching medical students in cardiac arrest management.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this article is to compare the efficacy of a traditional Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) course versus a modified longitudinal ACLS course using high-fidelity simulation in medical students.

METHODS: One group enrolled in a 2-day traditional ACLS course while another group participated in independent learning over 2 weeks and 2 simulation sessions using Laerdal Sim-Man. The modified curriculum also included environmental fidelity with simulation, access to materials electronically, smaller class sizes, and integration of real experiences in the Emergency Department into their learning. Student performance was measured with a scripted, videotaped mega code, followed by a survey.

RESULTS: We enrolled 21 students in a traditional ACLS program and 29 students in the simulation-based program (15 and 26 videos available for analysis). There was no difference in Time to Initiate CPR or Time to Shock between the groups, but the modified curriculum group demonstrated higher performance scores. They also felt better prepared to run the code during a simulation and in a hospital setting compared to students in the traditional ACLS curriculum.

CONCLUSIONS: Students in a modified longitudinal simulation-based ACLS curriculum demonstrated better proficiency in learning ACLS compared to a traditional curriculum.

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