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Postgrad Med J. 2007 Jan;83(975):4-7.

DR WHO: a workshop for house officer preparation.

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Academic Centre for Medical Education, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK.



Newly qualified doctors should be competent in advanced life support (ALS) and critical care. The Resuscitation Council has published a course about ALS for undergraduate medical students (the intermediate life support (ILS) course). However, there is no undergraduate-level course on assessing and treating critically ill patients, despite the fact that postgraduate courses on this topic are extremely popular. We have developed a new course called Direct Response Workshop for House Officer Preparation (DR WHO), which teaches both ALS and critical care at an undergraduate level.


We taught the Resuscitation Council ILS course to our 2003-4 cohort of final year medical students (n = 350), and the new course (DR WHO) to our 2004-5 cohort (n = 338). Students filled in feedback forms immediately after the courses, and a subset repeated the feedback forms 4 months after they had started work as house officers. Course evaluation: Student and house officer feedback was positive. The DR WHO cohort was more confident in caring for critically ill patients (18/26 (69%) were confident after ILS, and 40/45 (89%) were confident after DR WHO (chi2 = 4.3; df = 1; p = 0.06)). Both cohorts were competent in ALS, each with a mean score of 18.6/20 in a finals level practical examination on this topic.


The DR WHO course is popular with the students and practical to run. The course needs to be re-evaluated to determine the long-term competency of graduates.

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