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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Self-Reported Emergency Medicine Residency Applicant Attitudes Towards a Procedural Cadaver Laboratory Curriculum


Objective: Residency applicants consider a variety of factors when ranking emergency medicine (EM) programs for their NRMP match list. A human cadaver emergency procedure lab curriculum is uncommon. We hypothesized that the presence this curriculum would positively impact the ranking of an EM residency program.

Methods: The EM residency at Nebraska Medical Center is an urban, university-based program with a PGY I-III format. Residency applicants during the interview for a position in the PGY I class of 2006 were surveyed by three weekly electronic mailings. The survey was distributed in March 2006 after the final NRMP match results were released. The survey explored learner preferences and methodological commonality of models of emergency procedural training, as well as the impact of a procedural cadaver lab curriculum on residency ranking. ANOVA of ranks was used to compare responses to ranking questions.

Results: Of the 73 potential subjects, 54 (74%) completed the survey. Respondents ranked methods of procedural instruction from 1 (most preferred or most common technique) to 4 (least preferred or least common technique). Response averages and 95% confidence intervals for the preferred means of learning a new procedure are as follows: textbook (3.69; 3.51-3.87), mannequin (2.83; 2.64-3.02), human cadaver (1.93; 1.72-2.14), and living patient (1.56; 1.33-1.79). Response averages for the commonality of means used to teach a new procedure are as follows: human cadaver (3.63; 3.46-3.80), mannequin (2.70; 2.50-2.90), living patient (2.09; 1.85-2.33), and textbook (1.57; 1.32-1.82). When asked if the University of Nebraska Medical Center residency ranked higher in the individual’s match list because of its procedural cadaver lab, 14.8% strongly disagreed, 14.8% disagreed, 40.7% were neutral, 14.8% agreed, and 14.8% strongly agreed.

Conclusion: We conclude that, although cadaveric procedural training is viewed by senior medical student learners as a desirable means of learning a procedure, its use is uncommon during medical school, and its presence as part of a residency curriculum does not influence ranking of the residency program.

[WestJEM. 2008;9:141-145.]

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