Examining the Learning Practice of Emergency Airway Management Within an Academic Medical Center: Implications for Training and Improving Outcomes

J Med Educ Curric Dev. 2020 Oct 14;7:2382120520965257. doi: 10.1177/2382120520965257. eCollection Jan-Dec 2020.


Emergency airway management (EAM) is a "high stakes" clinical practice, associated with a significant risk of procedure-related complications and patient mortality. Learning within the EAM team practice is complex and challenging for trainees. Increasing concern for patient safety and changes in the structure of medical education have resulted in educational challenges and opportunities for improvement within the EAM team practice. This paper is divided into 3 sections that describe the past, present, and future of the EAM team learning practice within a large academic institution. Section 1 provides a brief overview of the evolution of the existing practice of EAM. Key features, goals, and challenges of the practice are outlined and a recently performed needs analysis to identify areas for improvement is described. Section 2 examines the underlying assumptions regarding learning within the existing practice and explores how these assumptions fit into major theories of learning. Section 3 proposes an idealized learning practice for the EAM team which includes the assumptions regarding learners, design of the learning environment, use of technology to enhance learning, and the means of assessment and measuring success. It is hoped that through this systematic exploration of the EAM team practice, learning efficacy and efficiency will be improved and remain adaptable for challenges in the future.

Keywords: Emergency airway management; learning practice; medical education.

Publication types

  • Review