Residents feel unprepared and unsupervised as leaders of cardiac arrest teams in teaching hospitals: a survey of internal medicine residents

Crit Care Med. 2007 Jul;35(7):1668-72. doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000268059.42429.39.


Objective: We aimed to determine internal medicine residents' perceptions of the adequacy of their training to serve as in-hospital cardiac arrest team leaders, given the responsibility of managing acutely critically ill patients and with recent evidence suggesting that the quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation provided in teaching hospitals is suboptimal.

Design: Cross-sectional postal survey.

Setting: Canadian internal medicine training programs.

Participants: Internal medicine residents attending Canadian English-speaking medical schools.

Interventions: A survey was mailed to internal medicine residents asking questions relating to four domains: adequacy of training, perception of preparedness, adequacy of supervision and feedback, and effectiveness of additional training tools.

Measurements and main results: Of the 654 residents who were sent the survey, 289 residents (44.2%) responded. Almost half of the respondents (49.3%) felt inadequately trained to lead cardiac arrest teams. Many (50.9%) felt that the advanced cardiac life support course did not provide the necessary training for team leadership. A substantial number of respondents (40%) reported receiving no additional cardiac arrest training beyond the advanced cardiac life support course. Only 52.1% of respondents felt prepared to lead a cardiac arrest team, with 55.3% worrying that they made errors. Few respondents reported receiving supervision during weekdays (14.2%) or evenings and weekends (1.4%). Very few respondents reported receiving postevent debriefing (5.9%) or any performance feedback (1.3%). Level of training and receiving performance feedback were associated with perception of adequacy of training (r(2) = .085, p < .001). Respondents felt that additional training involving full-scale simulation, leadership skills training, and postevent debriefing would be most effective in increasing their skills and confidence.

Conclusions: The results suggest that residents perceive deficits in their training and supervision to care for critically ill patients as cardiac arrest team leaders. This raises sufficient concern to prompt teaching hospitals and medical schools to consider including more appropriate supervision, feedback, and further education for residents in their role as cardiac arrest team leaders.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support / education*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Canada
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Leadership
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Regression Analysis