Purpose of review: In recent years, research has led to changes in the practice of mechanical ventilation that are associated with improved patient outcome. Unfortunately, many of these recommendations have not been consistently translated to the bedside. Education is an important component of change management, and thus a review of successful education practices, including those that incorporate advances in technology, is timely.
Recent findings: We are failing to adequately teach important concepts in mechanical ventilation to those healthcare providers in training and to those currently in practice. There are few explicit links between phases of training that ensure achievement of learning objectives related to mechanical ventilation. Targeted multifaceted education initiatives, however, have been shown to reduce the incidence of suboptimal mechanical ventilation care. Advances in simulation technology (table-top simulators, personal computer-based simulators, and high-fidelity patient simulators) have created new educational tools, although it has not been demonstrated how to effectively integrate ventilation simulation into a curriculum map.
Summary: A coordinated approach to education about mechanical ventilation should be considered to ensure optimal patient care in a wide variety of clinical settings. Further research is necessary to determine the important characteristics inherent in successful education initiatives, particularly those incorporating new technology such as simulation.