Background: While initial results suggest that simulation does promote learning, there is a dearth of studies that define the extent to which skills learned through simulation are retained.
Methods: Residents skills were measured upon completion of an initial simulation training (baseline scores) and then every month for 6 months. Analysis was also performed to identify the number of iterations of practice required to regain baseline scores.
Results: While skill scores did not deteriorate from baseline after the first 3 months (p = 0.61, p = 0.44, p = 0.2, respectively), all scores (except time elapsed) reflected significant deterioration from the fourth month onward (p < 0.05, p < 0.032, p < 0.02). However the number of practice sessions required to regain baseline scores was significantly less than that required to achieve the baseline skill set (p < 0.0003).
Conclusions: Skills learned through simulation show significant deterioration over long periods of time, suggesting that periodic retraining of skills may be necessary to maintain surgical proficiency.
Copyright © 2010 Association of Program Directors in Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.