Evaluation of a Hands-On Wrist Fracture Simulator for Fracture Management Training in Emergency Medicine Residents

Cureus. 2022 Jul 19;14(7):e27030. doi: 10.7759/cureus.27030. eCollection 2022 Jul.


Background Fractures are common in the emergency department, and fracture management training poses certain challenges. Recent emergency medicine (EM) residency graduates feel only somewhat prepared to manage fractures. In this study, our objectives were to determine the effect of introducing a wrist fracture simulator (Sawbones®) to traditional EM fracture management education and to assess resident attitudes, comfort with fracture management, and perceptions of the simulator. Methodology This six-month prospective study involved postgraduate year one residents at two academic EM programs. For convenience, each residency was considered as one test group. One residency group was deemed the traditional group (n = 10), while the other was the intervention simulator group (n = 16). Identical traditional lectures and buddy splinting workshops were provided. The simulator group received supplemental training with the Sawbones® simulator. Groups were filmed using this simulator for fracture management before the teaching sessions and at six months. Grading utilized a 27-point scale, with a subscale covering reduction. Data were collected regarding attitudes, comfort with fracture management, and perceptions of the simulator. Results In total, 26 residents participated in the study. There was no significant difference between groups at six months in overall fracture management scores (traditional group: 15.8 ± 3.1; simulator group: 15.4 ± 3.9; p = 0.92). On the subscale of fracture reduction skills, the simulator group showed significant improvement (p = 0.0078), while the traditional training group did not (p = 0.065). Both groups reported satisfaction with the simulator, improved comfort, and knowledge of fracture management. Conclusions Fracture management is an essential competency, and prior research has shown that most graduating EM residents do not feel comfortable with these skills. All participating residents in this study struggled with adequate fracture management, even after the teaching session. Our study suggests that there is a benefit to supplementing traditional training with a fracture simulator.

Keywords: closed fracture reduction; distal radius fracture management; emergency medicine resident; fracture reduction; orthopedic fractures; simulation trainer.