Performance Standards of Comprehensive Airway Management for Emergency Medicine Residents

AEM Educ Train. 2018 Oct 12;3(1):39-49. doi: 10.1002/aet2.10127. eCollection 2019 Jan.


Background: The Emergency Medicine (EM) Milestone Project provides guidance for assessment of resident trainee airway management proficiency (PC10). Although milestones provide a general structure for assessment, they do not define performance standards. The objective of this project was to establish comprehensive airway management performance standards for EM trainees at both novice and mastery levels of proficiency.

Methods: Comprehensive airway management standards were derived using standard-setting procedures. A panel of residency education and airway management experts was convened to determine how trainees would be expected to perform on 51 individual tasks in a standardized airway management simulation encompassing preparation, endotracheal intubation, backup airway use, and ventilation. Experts participated in facilitated exercises in which they were asked to 1) define which items were critical for patient safety, 2) predict the performance of a "novice" learner, and 3) predict the performance of a "mastery" learner nearing independent practice. Experts were given a worksheet to complete and descriptive statistics were calculated using STATA 14.

Results: Experts identified 39 of 51 (76%) airway management items as critical for patient safety. Experts also noted that novice trainees do not need to complete all the items deemed to be critical prior to starting practice since they will be supervised by a board-certified EM physician. In contrast, mastery-level trainees would be expected to successfully complete not only the critical tasks, but also nearly all the items in the assessment (49/51, 96%) since they are nearing independent practice.

Conclusion: In this study, we established EM resident performance standards for comprehensive airway management during a simulation scenario. Future work will focus on validating these performance standards in current resident trainees as they move from simulation to actual patient care.