Simulation-Based Course Improves Resident Comfort, Knowledge, and Ability to Manage Surgical Intensive Care Unit Patients

J Surg Res. 2020 Dec;256:355-363. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2020.05.103. Epub 2020 Jul 30.


Background: Simulation-based education can augment residents' skills and knowledge. We assessed the effectiveness of a simulation-based course for surgery interns designed to improve their comfort, knowledge, and ability to manage common surgical critical care (SCC) conditions.

Materials and methods: For 2 y, all first year residents (n = 31) in general surgery, urology, interventional radiology, and the integrated plastics, vascular, and cardiothoracic surgery training programs at our institution participated in a simulation-based course emphasizing evidence-based management of SCC conditions. Precourse and postcourse surveys and multiple-choice tests, as well as summative simulation tests, assessed interns' comfort, knowledge, and ability to manage SCC conditions. Changes in these measures were assessed with Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank tests. Factors associated with summative performance were determined by linear regression.

Results: The course consisted of four simulation-based teaching sessions in year 1 and six in year 2. The course taught seven of the 18 core SCC conditions in the Surgical Council on Resident Education general surgery curriculum in year 1 and 10 in year 2. Interns' self-reported comfort, knowledge, and ability to manage each condition taught in the course increased (P < 0.02). Their knowledge of each condition, as assessed by written tests, also increased (P < 0.02). Their summative simulation test performance correlated with the number of course sessions attended (P < 0.03) and status as general surgery residents (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: A simulation-based SCC training course for surgery interns that emphasizes evidence-based management of SCC conditions improves interns' comfort, knowledge, and ability to manage these conditions.

Keywords: Curriculum; Education; SCORE; SICU; Simulation; Surgical training.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data
  • Critical Care*
  • Curriculum
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Internship and Residency / methods*
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data
  • Self Report / statistics & numerical data
  • Simulation Training*