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Evaluating team-based inter-professional advanced life support training in intensive care—a prospective observational study

Intensive Care Unit, Cabrini Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria


Recent focus on national standards within Australian hospitals has prompted a focus on the training of our staff in advanced life support (ALS). Research in critical care nursing has questioned the traditional annual certification of ALS competence as the best method of delivering this training. Simulation and team-based training may provide better ALS education to intensive care unit (ICU) staff. Our new inter-professional team-based advanced life support program involved ICU staff in a large private metropolitan ICU. A prospective observational study using three standardised questionnaires and two multiple choice questionnaire assessments was conducted. Ninety-nine staff demonstrated a 17.8% (95% confidence interval 4.2–31, P=0.01) increase in overall ICU nursing attendance at training sessions. Questionnaire response rates were 93 (94%), 99 (100%) and 60 (61%) respectively; 51 (52%) staff returned all three. Criteria were assessed by scores from 0 to 10. Nurses reported improved satisfaction with the education program (9.4 to 7.1, P <0.001), as well as improvement in role understanding (8.7 and 9.1 versus 7.9 and 8.2, P <0.001) and confidence (8.4 and 8.8 versus 7.4 and 7.8, P <0.001) during ALS provision (outside ICU and inside ICU) following the course when compared to before the program. Doctors’ only statistically significant improvement was in their confidence in ALS provision outside ICU (8.7 versus 8.1, P=0.04). The new program cost approximately an extra $16,500 in nursing salaries. We concluded that team-based, inter-professional ALS training produced statistically significant improvements in nursing attendance, satisfaction with ALS education, confidence and role understanding compared to traditional ALS training.

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