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Our aim was to determine the competency of students in inserting PVCs before and after an educational intervention” Friederichs et al (2016).


OBJECTIVE: Inserting peripheral venous catheters (PVCs) has been identified as a core competency for medical students. Because the performance – even of hygienic standards – of both students and novice physicians is frequently inadequate, medical faculties must focus on competence-based learning objectives and deliberate practice, features that are combined in mastery learning. Our aim was to determine the competency of students in inserting PVCs before and after an educational intervention.

DESIGN: This study comprised a skills assessment with pre- and post-tests of a group of third-year students who received a simulation-based intervention. A newly established curriculum involved one hour of practice at inserting PVCs on simulators. Students were required to pass a test (total 21 points, pass mark 20 points) developed on the concept of mastery learning. An unannounced follow-up test was performed one week (8 days) after the intervention.

SETTING: The simulation center of the medical faculty in Muenster.

PARTICIPANTS: Third-year students who received the intervention.

RESULTS: One hundred and nine complete data sets were obtained from 133 students (82.5%). Most students (97.2%) passed the test after the intervention (mean score increase from 15.56 to 20.50, P<0.001). There was a significant decrease in students’ performance after one week (8 days): only 74.5% of participants passed this retest (mean score reduction from 20.50 to 20.06, P<0.001).

CONCLUSION: Mastery learning is an effective form of teaching practical skills to medical students, allowing a thorough preparation for the challenges of daily clinical practice.


Friederichs, H., Brouwer, B., Marschall, B. and Weissenstein, A. (2016) Mastery learning improves students skills in inserting intravenous access: a pre-post-study. GMS Journal for Medical Education. 33(4), p.Doc56. eCollection 2016.

doi: 10.3205/zma001055.

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