Objective: The objective of this study is to evaluate medical students’ perceptions of acceptability of a simulation- based lumbar puncture (LP) course and its effect on standardized LP performance four weeks later. Tests were also conducted to find out whether skills were improved by including a clinical case to establish the relevance of the learning material in the LP course.
Methods: Medical students in their pediatric term (n=45) were invited to participate and were randomly divided into three groups. The simulation group was offered only the LP course, while the simulation and clinical case group was offered a clinical case leading to performing LP on an infant before attending the actual LP course. The groups were tested four weeks after the LP courses together with a control group that had attended neither the LP course nor the clinical case. The testing was conducted by awarding points, up to a maximum of 26, for the different correct actions performed during the LP procedure.
Results: The medical students in the skill group (n=11) performed similarly to the students in the skill and clinical case group (n=9), 14.2 (+/- 4.4) and 13.9 (+/- 4.3) respectively, and better than the control group, (n=10) 5.6 (+/-4.8) (p<0.01).
Conclusions: When tested, the medical students who had completed the LP course performed better than the control group that had not been offered this course during their pediatric term. Hence, introducing a clinical case in the LP course did not improve LP skills.
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