Evaluation of emergency medicine trainees' ability to use transport equipment


  • Manoj Samuel, MB BS, Registrar in Emergency Medicine; Julian Stella, MB BS, FACEM, Consultant in Emergency Medicine.

Dr Julian Stella, Emergency Department, The Geelong Hospital, Barwon Health, Geelong, Vic. 3220, Australia. Email: julianst@barwonhealth.org.au


Objective:  To assess the skills of advanced emergency medicine trainees in the use of commonly used transport equipment and to determine what teaching has been undertaken and what level of confidence trainees have in their ability to use the equipment tested.

Methods:  This is a prospective multicentre observational study examining equipment use. Three pieces of equipment were examined: the infusion pump, defibrillator-monitor and transport ventilator. A questionnaire and a series of practical tasks were used. Advanced trainees from Victorian ED were enrolled as participants. Outcomes included proportion of participants able to perform all tasks successfully, subjective registrar confidence with use of equipment and departmental training practices. Eleven ED were represented, covering metropolitan tertiary, metropolitan peripheral and regional hospitals.

Results:  There were 47 participants enrolled in the study. The range of advanced training years of participants was 1–5+. Of the 47 participants, 39 (83%; 95% CI 72.2–93.7%) had been involved as medical escorts. Eighteen participants (38.3%; 95% CI 24.4–52.2%) described some form of teaching for equipment use. The median level of confidence of participants (on a 5-point scale) was 4 (25–75% interquartile range 3–4), which correlates with a moderate degree of confidence. Of 47 participants, 7 (14.9%; 95% CI 4.7–25.1%) rated themselves as not confident or somewhat under-confident (i.e. 1 or 2 on the scale). Of 47, 12 passed overall (25.5%; 95% CI 13.1–38%) and 8 completely failed (17.0%; 95% CI 6.3–27.8%) the skill testing.

Conclusion:  When tested in isolation, there appears to be deficits in the equipment skills of advanced ED trainees who are expected to be proficient in transport medicine.