Mastery learning of temporary hemodialysis catheter insertion by nephrology fellows using simulation technology and deliberate practice

Am J Kidney Dis. 2009 Jul;54(1):70-6. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2008.12.041. Epub 2009 Apr 19.


Background: Temporary hemodialysis catheter (THDC) insertion is a required skill for nephrology fellows. Traditional fellowship training may provide inadequate preparation to perform this procedure. Our aim was to use a central venous catheter (CVC) simulator to assess nephrology fellows' THDC insertion skills and evaluate the impact of an educational intervention on skill development to mastery standards.

Study design: Prospective observational cohort study.

Setting & participants: 18 nephrology fellows from 3 academic centers in Chicago from May to August 2008. Six graduating fellows (traditionally-trained) underwent assessment of internal jugular THDC insertion skill using a CVC simulator. Subsequently, 12 first-year fellows (simulator-trained) underwent baseline testing and received a 2-hour education session featuring deliberate practice with the CVC simulator. Simulator-trained fellows were retested after the intervention and expected to meet or exceed a minimum passing score.

Predictor: Completion of CVC simulation education session.

Outcomes: THDC insertion skill performance.

Measurements: Skills examination was scored on a 27-item checklist. Minimum passing score was set by an expert panel.

Results: Performance of traditionally-trained graduating fellows in THDC insertion was poor (mean, 53.1%), and only 17% met the minimum passing score. Performance of simulator-trained first-year fellows improved from a mean of 29.5% to a mean of 88.6% after simulator training (P = 0.002). Simulator-trained fellows showed significantly higher THDC insertion performance than traditionally-trained graduating fellows (P = 0.001). The education program was rated highly.

Limitations: Although it represents fellows from 3 programs, sample size was small.

Conclusions: A curriculum featuring deliberate practice dramatically increased the skill of nephrology fellows to mastery standards in THDC insertion. This program illustrates a feasible and reliable mechanism to achieve and document procedural competency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods*
  • Competency-Based Education / methods*
  • Data Collection
  • Education / trends
  • Education, Medical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Nephrology / education*
  • Professional Competence / standards
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis / instrumentation
  • Renal Dialysis / methods*
  • Specialization