Objective: To assess the effect of a one-day paediatric life-support course on the knowledge of paediatric trainees.
Methods: A telephone survey was performed prior to and at set intervals following the course. Responses to individual questions before and after the course were analysed and an overall test score was calculated. The acquisition and retention of knowledge was measured by comparing test scores for the same group of trainees at time intervals after the course.
Results: All candidates were surveyed. The median duration of paediatric training prior to the course was 3 years. Eighteen candidates (78%) had previously intubated a child and 13 (57%) had previously used an intraosseous needle. Prior to the course, few of the 23 candidates had adequate knowledge of either the management of the cervical spine in the seriously injured child (17%), fluid resuscitation in meningococcal septicemia (52%), shock dose in ventricular fibrillation (61%), or the management of anaphylactic shock (35%). There was a significant improvement in the knowledge of the group after the course, with median test scores increasing from 19 to a maximum of 22 (P < 0.001). This knowledge was retained at 4 months after the course.
Conclusion: Despite a high level of experience and previous training in paediatric resuscitation, many candidates lacked the basic knowledge necessary for the resuscitation of seriously ill or injured children. There was a significant improvement in this knowledge after the course, and this was maintained for 4 months. The paediatric life-support course is an important means of resuscitation training for junior doctors.