Patient Care

Tip-Top Tactics for Bedside Procedure Training


David Lichtman, PA, director of the Johns Hopkins Central Procedure Service in Baltimore, Md., says bedside procedure training should be consistent and thorough, regardless of whether the trainee is a medical student, a resident, a fellow, or an established physician. He is a strong advocate for training that includes well-designed computer coursework, evaluates practitioners from start to finish, and demonstrates that they are meeting established benchmarks.

“That’s what keeps patients safe,” he says.

Experienced, capable, and proven educators are also critical.

“Let’s face it: Not everybody is a very good teacher,” he adds.

Currently, many medical residents can do rotations that will give them hands-on experience. But some physicians question why certain procedures are still being taught to internal medicine residents if the ABIM no longer requires hands-on experience. Other programs may simply lack the resources, including experienced supervisors, to provide proper training.

The demand for more training is clearly there, however. Sally Wang, MD, FHM, director of procedure education at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, co-leads the procedures pre-course at the SHM annual meeting. She compares the logistically complicated event to throwing a wedding. It consistently sells out despite having doubled in size, to 60 slots for a basic procedure course and 60 slots for a second course that emphasizes ultrasound. At the HM14 pre-course in Las Vegas, Dr. Wang counted enough people on the waiting list to fill an additional course.

“It was mind-boggling,” she says.

Several companies have taken notice of the pent-up demand and are offering their own courses and workshops. Joshua Lenchus, DO, RPh, FACP, SFHM, medical director of the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital’s procedure service, and others see many of these offerings as introductions only, however. At the University of Miami, he says, his rigorous, simulation-based invasive bedside procedures curriculum is mandatory for all internal medicine residents. The curriculum includes central line, thoracentesis, paracentesis, lumbar puncture, and sometimes arthrocentesis as its core procedures, though Dr. Lenchus says others can easily be added. This fall, for instance, he plans to add chest tube and arterial line placement.

He notes a dramatic reduction in central line placement and thoracentesis complications after his team began performing them to the “four pillars” of his program. Rigorous simulation-based training, strict adherence to a critical skills checklist, consistent use of ultrasound, and direct supervision can form a very effective bundle of safety measures, he says, just like a combination of seat belts, speed reduction, and other precautions can lead to fewer automobile-associated injuries and deaths. TH

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