Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Pediatric Emergency Decision Support Software to Enhance Student Learning During Medical Simulation: Initial Experience and Future Directions

Zane C. Giffen,Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine,Roanoke,Virginia,Okmin Pyon,Virginia Tech School of Engineering,Blacksburg,Virginia,Andre A. Muelenaer,Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine,Roanoke,VA

Background: Simulation is a learning modality that has been increasingly incorporated into undergraduate medical school pediatric curriculums to enhance clinical knowledge.  

Objective: To assess the potential for a computer-based decision-support tool to enhance student learning during pediatric simulations. 

Methods: Third-year medical students were recruited to participate in individual ten-minute pediatric emergency simulations. Each completed two unique scenarios (bradycardia in an infant and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in a child) with and without algorithmic decision support software in a crossover manner. The simulations were recorded and student performance was critiqued. Participants were surveyed on their perceived value of the simulations as a learning experience with and without the decision support software.

Results: Currently, six third-year medical students from one medical school have completed four ten-minute scenarios each for a total of 24 simulations. All participants had completed their core pediatrics clerkship; none held Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. Students found the simulations conducted alongside the decision support tool significantly more helpful as a learning tool for the bradycardia scenario (Likert item average without software = 2.5; Likert item average with software = 4.5; p <0.01). Participants also found the tool to be of educational benefit in the DKA scenario (Likert item average without software = 2.8; Likert item average with software = 3.5; p = 0.1), although the results were not statistically significant. Overall, the small cohort found the sessions useful, with 6/6 students noting the simulations would impact their decision-making in future pediatric rotations.

Discussion: Decision support software used in conjunction with moderate-fidelity simulations may enhance the learning of pediatric medical students as compared to simulations alone.  Further research exploring different clinical scenarios and simulation settings is needed.