A medical simulation-based educational intervention for emergency medicine residents in neonatal resuscitation

Moon O Lee, Linda L Brown, Jesse Bender, Jason T Machan, Frank L Overly
Academic Emergency Medicine: Official Journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine 2012, 19 (5): 577-85

OBJECTIVES: The objective was to determine if a medical simulation-based neonatal resuscitation educational intervention is a more effective teaching method than the current emergency medicine (EM) curriculum at one 4-year EM residency program.

METHODS: A prospective, randomized study of second-, third-, and fourth-year EM residents was performed. Of 36 potential subjects, 27 residents were enrolled. Each resident was assessed at baseline and after the intervention using 1) a questionnaire to evaluate confidence in leading adult, pediatric, and neonatal resuscitation and prior neonatal resuscitation experience and 2) a neonatal resuscitation simulation scenario in which each participant was the code leader to evaluate knowledge and skills. Assessments were digitally recorded and reviewed independently by two Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) instructors using a validated neonatal resuscitation scoring tool. Controls (15 participants) received the current EM curriculum. The intervention group (12 participants) experienced an educational session, which incorporated didactics, skills station, and medical simulation about neonatal resuscitation. Outcomes measured included changes in overall neonatal resuscitation score, number of critical actions, time to initial steps of neonatal resuscitation, and changes in confidence level leading neonatal resuscitation.

RESULTS: Baseline neonatal resuscitation scores were similar for the control and intervention groups. At the final assessment, the intervention group's neonatal resuscitation score improved (p = 0.016) and the control group's score did not. The intervention group performed 2.31 more critical actions overall and the time to achieve warming (p = 0.0002), drying (p < 0.0001), tactile stimulation (p = 0.002), and placing a hat on the patient (p <0.0001) were also improved compared to controls. At the baseline assessment, 80% of the control group and 75% of the intervention group reported being "not at all confident" in leading neonatal resuscitation. At the final assessment, the proportion of residents who were "not at all confident" leading neonatal resuscitation decreased to 35% in the intervention group compared to 67% of the control group. The majority of the intervention group (65%) reported an increased level of confidence in leading neonatal resuscitation.

CONCLUSIONS: Medical simulation can be an effective tool to assess the knowledge and skills of EM residents in neonatal resuscitation. Our simulation-based educational intervention significantly improved EM residents' knowledge and performance of the critical initial steps in neonatal resuscitation. A medical simulation-based educational intervention may be used to improve EM residents' knowledge and performance with neonatal resuscitation.

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