SPRINT Through Tasks: A Novel Curriculum for Improving Resident Task Management in the Emergency Department

MedEdPORTAL. 2020 Aug 25:16:10956. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10956.


Introduction: The emergency department (ED) presents a challenging task-management environment to emergency medicine (EM) trainees. However, equipping residents with a tool to improve task switching (generically known as multitasking) could have positive impacts on patient care and physician emotional state. We designed a task-management tool and educational curriculum with the goal of improving emergency medicine resident task-switching ability.

Methods: The task-management tool uses the acronym SPRINT: (1) stabilize critical patients, (2) perform procedures, (3) rack (see new patients in the chart rack), (4) in or out (reassess and disposition), (5) type it up (chart completion). These tasks and their order were decided on by two seasoned clinicians based on their years of experience in the ED. The SPRINT tool was taught to EM residents through a 1-hour curriculum consisting of an introductory video, a classroom-based workshop with multimedia didactics, and team learning with a card game simulating the use of the SPRINT tool on a shift. Residents were surveyed to evaluate their task-management confidence and perceived effectiveness of the curriculum.

Results: A total of 34 EM residents participated in this training on the SPRINT tool. There was an improvement in resident confidence in task management, and residents reporting having a strategy for task prioritization 8 weeks after the workshop.

Discussion: The SPRINT curriculum provides EM residents with a tool to manage the complex task-management environment of the ED. Further research in task-management education should focus on patient-oriented outcomes among physicians who have received this training.

Keywords: Clinical Reasoning/Diagnostic Reasoning; Decision Fatigue; Efficiency; Emergency Medicine; Games; Interruptions; Multimedia; Multitasking; Quality Improvement/Patient Safety; Task Management; Task Switching.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Emergency Medicine* / education
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Physicians*