Introduction: The fast-paced nature of physician assistant (PA) programs warrants an emphasis on high-fidelity, critical care skills training. Generally, manikins or task trainers are used for training and assessing. Soft-preserved cadavers provide a high-fidelity model to teach high-acuity, low-opportunity procedures; however, their effectiveness in PA pre-clinical training is not well understood.
Objective: This study compared procedural competency of task trainer and soft-preserved cadaver trained pre-clinical PA (pcPA) students in completing tube thoracostomy, endotracheal intubation, intraosseous infusion, and needle thoracostomy.
Methods: A randomized controlled study was conducted with pcPA students (n = 48) at a midwestern program. Participants were randomly assigned to cadaver trained (CT), task trainer (TT), or control group (CG). We assessed procedural competency using skill-specific rubrics and performed qualitative analysis of student comments regarding skill-specific procedural preparedness.
Results: Intervention groups surpassed the control group on all skills. The CT students exhibited significantly higher procedural competency compared to TT-trained students in endotracheal intubation (p = 0.0003) and intraosseous infusion (p = 0.0041). Thematic analysis of student comments revealed pre-training students consistently felt unprepared and lacked confidence to perform needle thoracostomy, tube thoracostomy, and endotracheal intubation. Post-training perceptions, CT/TT, focused on preparedness and confidence. The CT group also consistently described the impact of realistic simulation.
Conclusion: High-fidelity training with soft-preserved cadavers may be the most effective way to prepare pcPA students to perform endotracheal intubation and intraosseous infusion. Student perspectives on procedural preparedness highlight the importance of multidimensional, realistic training methods.Reference:
Moon MB, Darden A, Hill M, Roberts MK, Varalli-Claypool B, Miller FC. Emergency Critical Skills Training for Pre-clinical Physician Assistant Students: Mixed Method Comparison of Training Method. Med Sci Educ. 2022 Jul 1;32(4):837-845. doi: 10.1007/s40670-022-01575-0. PMID: 36035540; PMCID: PMC9411425.