Simulation training improves ability to manage medical emergencies

Emerg Med J. 2010 Oct;27(10):734-8. doi: 10.1136/emj.2009.074518.


Objective: In the case of an emergency, fast and structured patient management is crucial for a patient's outcome. Every physician and graduate medical student should possess basic knowledge of emergency care and the skills to manage common emergencies. This study determines the effect of a simulation-based curriculum in emergency medicine on students' abilities to manage emergency situations.

Methods: A controlled, blinded educational trial of 44 final-year medical students was carried out at Frankfurt Medical School; 22 students completed the former curriculum as the control group and 22 the new curriculum as the intervention group. The intervention consists of simulation-based training with theoretical and simulation-based training sessions in realistic encounters based on the Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and adapted Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) training. Further common emergencies were integrated corresponding to the course objectives. All students faced a performance-based assessment in a 10 station Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) using checklist rating within a maximum of 4 months after completion of the intervention.

Results: The intervention group performed significantly better at all of the 10 OSCE stations in the checklist rating (p<0.0001 to p=0.016).

Conclusions: The simulation-based intervention offers a positively evaluated possibility to enhance students' skills in recognising and handling emergencies. Additional studies are required to measure the long-term retention of the acquired skills, as well as the effect of training in healthcare professionals.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards*
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Patient Simulation*