Failure of pediatric and neonatal trainees to meet Canadian Neonatal Resuscitation Program standards for neonatal intubation

J Perinatol. 2010 Mar;30(3):182-7. doi: 10.1038/jp.2009.152. Epub 2009 Oct 8.


Objective: Neonatal intubation skills are initially taught through the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) and thereafter complemented by further practical clinical training. The aim of this study is to compare the ability of NRP trained individuals to successfully complete a neonatal intubation.

Study design: A prospective observational study was performed at an inborn high-risk level 3 perinatal center. Participants were postgraduate years 1 and 3 pediatric residents, neonatal-perinatal medicine subspecialty residents and fellows, and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) respiratory therapists (RTs) with earlier NRP training. Intubations were scored on a checklist as well as a global assessment scale. Characteristics of the intubation attempt were recorded for each patient.

Result: Fifty neonatal intubations were assessed, of which 73% of the attempts were deemed successful. A higher proportion of endotracheal tubes were successfully placed by RTs (100%, P<0.05), compared with both NICU fellows (69%) and pediatric residents (63%). The overall mean time for successful neonatal intubation was 51+/-28 s, which is greater than twice the time currently recommended by the NRP and American Heart Association guidelines. Attempts by pediatric residents and NICU fellows were longer (P<0.05, analysis of variance) and received lower global assessment scale (P<0.05, analysis of variance) and checklist (P<0.05, analysis of variance) scores, when compared with RTs.

Conclusion: The success rate and overall quality of neonatal intubations performed by neonatal and pediatric trainees in Canada did not meet NRP standards; in particular, the time taken to intubate by pediatric residents and neonatal fellows is concerning. Re-evaluation of training methods and the volume of formalized exposure to neonatal intubation in Canadian residency programs are required.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Internship and Residency
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / standards*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital*
  • Ontario
  • Pediatrics
  • Respiratory Therapy