In a new article in the ADC a group of authors from Liverpool, UK, have examined the retention of newborn resuscitation skills following a simulation-based training programme (NLS – Newborn Life Support). They undertook extensive follow-up of participants and turned up ‘on the job’ and re-examinined the health care professionals at their place of work.
They showed that overall, at 3-5 months after passing an NLS course, only 40% of those visited passed first time. Participants were more likely to succeed if they had been exposed to more resuscitations, or undergone 6-monthly refreshing. Self-reported confidence did not relate to objective success.
This brings up all sorts of interesting, obvious-in-hindsight and ‘need to remember that’ things. For a start – we’re pretty rubbish at linking our confidence and our competence. Follow that with the mantra “practice, practice, practice”. And that things which are more important to us are more likely to stick.
It also triggered an old memory; that despite an enjoyment of ‘high-fidelity’ simulation, it’s pretty much indistinguishable from ‘low-fidelity’ simulation for a bucket load of things (e.g. heart sounds). I think as EBM encouragers we need to take the lines of do it, frequently, with as much thought as possible to making it close to practice, and don’t worry too much about how things look.