Decision-making skills improve with critical care training: Using simulation to measure progress

Publication date: October 2018
Source:Journal of Critical Care, Volume 47
Author(s): David J. Murray, Walter A. Boyle, Mary Beth Beyatte, Justin G. Knittel, Paul W. Kerby, Julie Woodhouse, John R. Boulet
PurposeHealth care professionals are expected to acquire decision-making skills during their training, but few methods are available to assess progress in acquiring these essential skills. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a simulation methodology could be used to assess whether decision-making skills improve during critical care training.Materials and methodsSixteen simulated scenarios were designed to assess a critical care provider’s ability to make decisions in the care of a critical ill patient. Seventeen (17) critical care providers managed 8 of the scenarios early during their training and then managed a second set of 8 scenarios (T2) at the conclusion of their training.ResultsProvider’s mean global scenario scores (0–9) increased significantly fromT1 and T2 (5.64 ± 0.74) and (6.54 ± 0.64) with a large effect size (1.3). Acute care nurse practitioners and fellows achieved similar overall scores at the conclusion of their training (ACNP 6.43 ± 0.57; Fellows 6.64 ± 0.72).ConclusionsThese findings provide evidence to support the validity of a simulation-based method to assess progress in decision-making skills. A simulation methodology could be used to establish a performance standard that determined a provider’s ability to make independent decisions.