Adult essential extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) skills for use in an e-learning program for ICU physicians, nurses and perfusionists: a consensus by a modified Delphi questionnaire

BMC Med Educ. 2022 Nov 14;22(1):786. doi: 10.1186/s12909-022-03764-2.


Background: Education in ECMO starts with basic theory and physiology. For this type of training, self-assessment e-learning modules may be beneficial. The aim of this study was to generate consensus on essential ECMO skills involving various professional groups involved in caring for ECMO patients. These skills can be used for educational purposes: development of an e-learning program and fine-tuning of ECMO-simulation programs.

Methods: Experts worldwide received an e-mail inviting them to participate in the modified Delphi questionnaire. A mixture of ECMO experts was contacted. The expert list was formed based on their scientific track record mainly in adult ECMO (research, publications, and invited presentations). This survey consisted of carefully designed questionnaires, organized into three categories, namely knowledge skills, technical skills, and attitudes. Each statement considered a skill and was rated on a 5-point Likert-scale and qualitative comments were made if needed. Based on the summarized information and feedback, the next round Delphi questionnaire was developed. A statement was considered as a key competency when at least 80% of the experts agreed or strongly agreed (rating 4/5 and 5/5) with the statement. Cronbach's Alpha score tested internal consistency. Intraclass correlation coefficient was used as reliability index for interrater consistency and agreement.

Results: Consensus was achieved in two rounds. Response rate in the first round was 45.3% (48/106) and 60.4% (29/48) completed the second round. Experts had respectively for the first and second round: a mean age of 43.7 years (8.2) and 43.4 (8.8), a median level of experience of 11.0 years [7.0-15.0] and 12.0 years [8.3-14.8]. Consensus was achieved with 29 experts from Australia (2), Belgium (16), France (1), Germany (1), Italy (1), Russia (2), Spain (1), Sweden, (1), The Netherlands (4). The consensus achieved in the first round was 90.9% for the statements about knowledge, 54.5% about technical skills and 75.0% about attitudes. Consensus increased in the second round: 94.6% about knowledge skills, 90.9% about technical skills and 75.0% about attitudes.

Conclusion: An expert consensus was accomplished about the content of "adult essential ECMO skills". This consensus was mainly created with participation of physicians, as the response rate for nurses and perfusion decreased in the second round.

Keywords: Attitude; Consensus; Education; Extra corporeal membrane oxygenation; ICU; Knowledge; Modified Delphi; Technical skill.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Physicians*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires