Simulation-Based Curricula for Enhanced Retention of Pediatric Resuscitation Skills: A Randomized Controlled Study

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2021 Oct 1;37(10):e645-e652. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001849.


Introduction: Resuscitation skills decay as early as 4 months after course acquisition. Gaps in research remain regarding ideal educational modalities, timing, and frequency of curricula required to optimize skills retention. Our objective was to evaluate the impact on retention of resuscitation skills 8 months after the Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course when reinforced by an adjunct simulation-based curriculum 4 months after PALS certification. We hypothesized there would be improved retention in the intervention group.

Methods: This is a partial, double-blind, randomized controlled study. First-year pediatric residents were randomized to an intervention or control group. The intervention group participated in a simulation-based curriculum grounded in principles of deliberate practice and debriefing. The control group received no intervention. T-tests were used to compare mean percent scores (M) from simulation-based assessments and multiple-choice tests immediately following the PALS course and after 8 months.

Results: Intervention group (n = 12) had overall improved retention of resuscitation skills at 8 months when compared with the control group (n = 12) (mean, 0.57 ± 0.05 vs 0.52 ± 0.06; P = 0.037). No significant difference existed between individual skills stations. The intervention group had greater retention of cognitive knowledge (mean, 0.78 ± 0.09 vs 0.68 ± 0.14; P = 0.049). Residents performed 61% of assessment items correctly immediately following the PALS course.

Conclusions: Resuscitation skills acquisition from the PALS course and retention are suboptimal. These findings support the use of simulation-based curricula as course adjuncts to extend retention beyond 4 months.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Clinical Competence
  • Computer Simulation
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Resuscitation