Retention of critical care skills after simulation-based mastery learning

J Grad Med Educ. 2013 Sep;5(3):458-63. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-13-00033.1.


Background: Whether cognitive and patient care skills attained during simulation-based mastery learning (SBML) are retained is largely unknown.

Objective: We studied retention of intensive care unit (ICU) clinical skills after an SBML boot camp experience.

Methods: Forty-seven postgraduate year (PGY)-1 residents completed SBML intervention designed to increase procedural, communication, and patient care skills. The intervention included ICU skills such as ventilator and hemodynamic parameter management. Residents were required to meet or exceed a minimum passing score (MPS) on a clinical skills examination before starting actual patient care. Skill retention was assessed in 42 residents who rotated in the medical ICU. Residents received a standardized 15-minute booster teaching session reviewing key concepts during the first week of the rotation. During the fourth week of their rotation, PGY-1 residents completed a clinical skills examination at the bedside of an actual ICU patient. Group mean examination scores and the proportion of subjects who met or exceeded the MPS at each testing occasion were compared.

Results: Residents scored a mean 90% (SD = 6.5%) on the simulated skills examination immediately after training. Residents retained skills obtained through SBML as the mean score at bedside follow-up testing was 89% (SD = 8.9%, P = .36). Thirty-seven of 42 (88%) PGY-1 residents met or exceeded the MPS at follow-up.

Conclusion: SBML leads to substantial retention of critical care knowledge, and patient care skills PGY-1 boot camp is a highly efficient and effective model that can be administered at the beginning of the academic year.