Clinical performance and skill retention after simulation-based education for nephrology fellows

Semin Dial. 2012 Jul;25(4):470-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-139X.2011.01018.x. Epub 2012 Feb 7.


We previously demonstrated that simulation-based education (SBE) improved temporary hemodialysis catheter (THDC) insertion skills by nephrology fellows. SBE, featuring deliberate practice and rigorous achievement standards, was a powerful method to enhance THDC insertion skills in nephrology fellows. However, experts have called for further research to evaluate skill transfer from the simulated environment to actual clinical care and skill retention. This is a prospective observational cohort study of THDC insertion skills. Twelve nephrology fellows from three academic centers in Chicago were evaluated using a skills checklist from July 2008 to June 2009. Simulator-trained fellows were tested after the SBE intervention and expected to meet or exceed a minimum passing score (MPS) set by an expert panel. To assess transfer of skill to clinical care, three simulator-trained fellows were assessed at 6 months on actual patient THDC insertions using the checklist. To assess retention of skill, 11 of 12 simulator-trained fellows were reassessed at 1 year using the checklist and central venous catheter simulator. Outcomes were determined by THDC insertion skill performance. Simulator-trained fellows scored similarly during 6-month THDC insertions on actual patients and immediate posttest (M = 86.2%, SD = 22.3% vs. M = 93.5%, SD = 5.3%, p = 0.32). However, 1 year after SBE, simulated THDC insertion scores were significantly lower than at immediate posttest (M = 73.4%, SD = 22.2% vs. M = 93.5%, SD = 5.3%, p = 0.01). Our results show that nephrology fellows who completed SBE displayed high levels of performance during THDC insertions on actual patients 6 months later. At 1 year, there was statistically significant skills decay. We recommend booster training at 6 months.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheterization, Central Venous*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Humans
  • Nephrology / education
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retention, Psychology*