BACKGROUND: The transition of new residents from medical school to the post-graduate clinical environment remains challenging. We hypothesized that an introductory simulation course could improve new residents' performance in anesthesiology. METHODS: The Anesthesiology Residents Induction Month (ARIM) program was designed as a non-clinical simulation training program aiming at providing the theoretical and practical skills to safely approach, as junior anesthesiologists, the operating rooms. For each participant, specific knowledge, procedural skills and non-technical performance were assessed with a pre and post-test approach, before and immediately after the participation in the study. RESULTS: Fifteen first-month residents participated in the study. As compared to pre-test, residents significantly improved in all three evaluated areas. Pre-test knowledge assessment mean improved from 56% to 73% in the post-test (P<0.001). In the procedural skills assessment, pre-test mean improved from 43% to 77% (P<0.001) and non-technical skills assessment improved from 3.17 to 4.61 (in a scale out of seven points) in the post-test (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Data suggest that an intensive simulation-based program can be an effective way for first-year residents to rapidly acquire and develop basic skills specific to anesthesiology. There might be benefits to begin residency with a training program aiming at developing and standardizing technical and non-technical skills.
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