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Int J Med Educ. 2016 Nov 19;7:375-381. doi: 10.5116/ijme.580b.2e4f.

Using a novel assessment of procedural proficiency provides medical educators insight into blood pressure measurement.

Author information

1
Department of Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA, USA.

Abstract

Objective:

This investigation was performed to determine how students in a health sciences program utilize and explain techniques within blood pressure measurement using a novel assessment, and changes associated with greater curricular exposure.

Methods:

An exploratory, qualitative and quantitative study was conducted using a 'Think Aloud' design with protocol analysis. Following familiarization, participants performed the task of measuring blood pressure on a reference subject while stating their thought processes. A trained practitioner recorded each participant's procedural proficiency using a standardized rubric. There were 112 participants in the study with varying levels of curricular exposure to blood pressure measurement.

Results:

Four trends are noted. Specifically, a trend was observed wherein a marked increase in procedural proficiency with a plateau occurred (e.g. released cuff pressure 2-4 mmHg, 10%, 60%, 83%, 82%). Secondly, a trend was observed with improvement across groups (e.g. cuff placed snugly/smoothly on upper arm, 20%, 60%, 81%, and 91%). Other trends included a marked improvement with subsequent decrease, and an improvement without achieving proficiency (e.g. palpation of the brachial pulse, 5%, 90%, 81%, 68%, appropriate size cuff, 17%, 40%, 33%, 41%, respectively). Qualitatively, transcript interpretation resulted in a need for clarification in the way blood pressure procedure is instructed in the curriculum.

Conclusions:

The current investigation provides a snapshot of proficiency in blood pressure assessment across a curriculum and highlights considerations for best instructional practices, including the use of Think Aloud. Consequently, medical educators should use qualitative and quantitative assessments concurrently to determine achievement of blood pressure skill proficiency.

KEYWORDS:

instructional methods; interdisciplinary medical education; qualitative research methods; think aloud

PMID:
27864919
PMCID:
PMC5116368
DOI:
10.5116/ijme.580b.2e4f
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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