A Study to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Simulation on Anaesthetic Non-Technical Skills in the Management of Major Trauma Patients

Background: Dynamic, challenging instances during the management of major trauma patients requires optimal team intervention to ensure patient safety and effective crisis management. These factors highlight the importance of increased awareness in both technical and non-technical skills (NTS) training. Simulation based training (SBT) is an effective tool that replicates and teaches the required clinical skills, resulting in teamwork improvement, better patient safety, and care. Aims: This study investigates change in NTS, during the management of major trauma patients, using SBT. We also investigated the relationship between NTS performance and participation in previous NTS workshop (NTSW), years of experience, previous simulation (PS), previous exposure to major trauma patient management (MTPM) and group size. Methods: NTS behaviours were assessed by a single rater using previously validated framework for observing and rating Anaesthetists’ Non-Technical Skills (ANTS) for anaesthetists and Anaesthetic Non-Technical Skills for Anaesthetic Practitioners (ANTS-AP) for anaesthetic nurses during SBT. Two anaesthetists (one senior, one junior) together with one to four registered anaesthetic nurses formed 17 teams. The SBT consisted of 3 major trauma scenarios: 1) Major haemorrhage following multiple stab wounds to the torso, 2) Traumatic brain injury complicated by unanticipated difficult intubation, and 3) Penetrating neck injury with major haemorrhage, complicated by a failed intubation. The scores of each NTS category for each scenario are evaluated for significance in change and used to correlate whether NTS during the simulation were affected by previous NTSW, PS, previous exposure to MTPM and group size. Results: The resulting anaesthetists and anesthetic nurses’ p-values were < 0.05 indicating a significant improvement in all NTS resulting from score differences between scenarios 1 & 2 and 1 & 3. Anaesthetists’ NTS categories were not influenced by PS, previous NTSW, and exposure to MTPM. However, anaesthetic nurses NTS categories were influenced by PS, exposure to MTPM but not by NTSW. Conclusions: SBT has shown to be effective in improving the NTS for both anaesthetists and anaesthetic nurses. This enhances safety and team performance for MTPM. The impact of SBT in the clinical environment for patient management and safety warrants further research.