This study aimed to assess the impact of integrating a simulation-based education module into an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) curriculum on novice learners and to test the duration of time that skills obtained during this training exercise were retained. The authors hypothesized that multidisciplinary, simulation-based ECMO training would improve comfort and confidence levels among participants. An ECMO training curriculum was developed that incorporated in situ simulation modules to train multidisciplinary health care professionals involved in the management of patients receiving ECMO in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (PCICU). During the simulation, a team was assembled similar to the one that would staff the PCICU during a routine workday. Pre- and postparticipation questionnaires were used to determine the effects on the knowledge, ability, and confidence level of the participants. The participants were required to repeat the simulation test within 6-8 months. The study enrolled 26 providers (10 fellow physicians, 12 nurses and nurse practitioners, 4 respiratory therapists). All except one had no previous training in the management of ECMO. Of the 26 participants, 24 passed the initial written and practical tests. One participant failed the written test, whereas another failed the practical test. All the responding participants scored the didactic and scenarios education as useful, at 4 or higher (5 = very useful), in improving their perception of their overall knowledge and their ability to perform the required critical performance criteria on simulated ECMO. The 20 participants who appeared for the 6 month follow-up visit to assess maintenance of competency skills demonstrated success with simulated ECMO emergencies. All four questionnaires were completed by 18 participants. Simulation-based training is an effective method of improving knowledge, ability, and confidence levels among novice ECMO specialists and physician trainees. Further research is needed to assess real-time demonstration of skills retention during ECMO emergencies.
- Novice learner