Needs Assessment for a Resuscitative Thoracotomy Curriculum for General Surgery Residents in the Northeast Region

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Journal of surgical education


INTRODUCTION: Resuscitative thoracotomy (RT) is a high-acuity low occurrence (HALO) procedure with which general surgical resident (GSR) experience and confidence are unknown. We sought to identify and describe this educational gap by conducting a targeted needs assessment for an RT curriculum for GSRs. METHODS: An online regional needs assessment survey was conducted for an RT curriculum for GSRs. The survey was developed by a group of trauma stakeholders and revised after being piloted on a small, representative group of GSRs. We surveyed GSRs in the Northeast region regarding their experience and confidence with RT; interest in an RT curriculum; and content, format, and scope for an RT curriculum. RESULTS: The survey response rate was 43%, reflecting the viewpoints of GSRs at 8 major training centers across the Northeast. Only 13% of respondents were interested in pursuing a career in Trauma and Critical Care despite 97% of them training at a Level I Trauma Center. Twenty-nine percent and 33% of GSRs had ever assisted with or performed RT, respectively. Twenty-one percent of GSRs reported feeling confident performing RT. Most respondents (98%) agreed or strongly agreed that an RT curriculum would add value to their general surgery education. The most positively rated content topics were resuscitative maneuvers (100% positive responses [PR]), when to cease resuscitative efforts (100% PR), and morbidity and mortality associated with RT (98% PR). The most highly rated learning methods were individual RT simulation time (97% PR) and a tour of the trauma bay equipment (97% PR). CONCLUSIONS: This needs assessment demonstrates a lack of experience and confidence with RT, a strong learner interest in an RT curriculum, and a desire for experiential learning methods. Learning objectives are defined herein, and the next steps involve developing educational materials for an RT curriculum for GSRs.


Jack P. Vernamonti- Resident