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See One, Do One, Forget One: Early Skill Decay After Paracentesis Training.

INTRODUCTION: Internal medicine residents perform paracentesis, but programs lack standard methods for assessing competence or maintenance of competence and instead rely on number of procedures completed. This study describes differences in resident competence in paracentesis over time.

METHODS: From 2016 to 2017, internal medicine residents (n = 118) underwent paracentesis simulation training. Competence was assessed using the Paracentesis Competency Assessment Tool (PCAT), which combines a checklist, global scale, and entrustment score. The PCAT also delineates two categorical cut-point scores: the Minimum Passing Standard (MPS) and the Unsupervised Practice Standard (UPS). Residents were randomized to return to the simulation lab at 3 and 6 months (group A, n = 60) or only 6 months (group B, n = 58). At each session, faculty raters assessed resident performance. Data were analyzed to compare resident performance at each session compared with initial training scores, and performance between groups at 6 months.

RESULTS: After initial training, all residents met the MPS. The number achieving UPS did not differ between groups: group A = 24 (40%), group B = 20 (34.5%), p = 0.67. When group A was retested at 3 months, performance on each PCAT component significantly declined, as did the proportion of residents meeting the MPS and UPS. At the 6-month test, residents in group A performed significantly better than residents in group B, with 52 (89.7%) and 20 (34.5%) achieving the MPS and UPS, respectively, in group A compared with 25 (46.3%) and 2 (3.70%) in group B (p < .001 for both comparison).

DISCUSSION: Skill in paracentesis declines as early as 3 months after training. However, retraining may help interrupt skill decay. Only a small proportion of residents met the UPS 6 months after training. This suggests using the PCAT to objectively measure competence would reclassify residents from being permitted to perform paracentesis independently to needing further supervision.

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