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Am J Surg. 2007 Jan;193(1):96-9.

The use of cognitive task analysis to improve the learning of percutaneous tracheostomy placement.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



The purpose of the current study was to determine the effectiveness of using cognitive task analysis (CTA) to develop a curriculum to teach the behavioral skills and the cognitive strategies of a percutaneous tracheostomy (PT) placement.


Postgraduate 2, 3, and 4 general surgery residents were randomly assigned to either the CTA group (N = 9) or the control group (N = 11). The CTA group was taught percutaneous tracheostomy placement using the CTA curriculum. The control group received the traditional curriculum.


The CTA group performed significantly higher on the PT procedure at 1 month (CTA: 43.5 +/- 3.7, control 35.2 +/- 3.9, P = .001) and at 6 months post-instruction (CTA: 39.4 +/- 4.2, control: 31.8 +/- 5.8, P = .004). In addition, the CTA group demonstrated superior cognitive strategies than the control group (CTA: 25.4 +/- 5.3, control: 19.2 +/- 2.0, P = .004).


The use of CTA was effective in improving the cognitive processes and technical skills of performing a PT for surgical residents.

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