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Acad Emerg Med. 2005 Jul;12(7):635-9.

Does simulator training for medical students change patient opinions and attitudes toward medical student procedures in the emergency department?

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City 52246, USA. <>



To determine how simulator training impacts patients' preferences about medical student procedures in the emergency department.


A questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of 151 of 185 patients approached (82% participation) seen in the emergency department of a midwestern teaching hospital. The questionnaire asked how many procedures they would prefer a medical student have performed after mastering the procedure on a simulator before allowing the medical student to perform this procedure on them. The procedures included venipuncture, placement of an intravenous line, suturing the face or arm, performing a lumbar puncture, placement of a central line, placement of a nasogastric tube, intubation, and cardioversion. These results were compared with those of a similar study asking about the same procedures without the stipulation that the skill had been mastered on a simulator.


A high of 57% (venipuncture) and a low of 11% (placement of a central line) would agree to be a student's first procedure after simulator training. Except for intubating and suturing, participants were more likely (p < 0.05) to allow a medical student to perform a procedure on them after simulator training than without simulator training. Many patients prefer not to have a medical student perform a procedure no matter how many procedures the student has done (low of 21% for venipuncture, high of 55% for placement of a central line).


Patients are more accepting of medical students performing procedures if the skill has been mastered on a simulator. However, many patients do not want a medical student to perform a procedure on them regardless of the student's level of training.

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