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Simulation-based training and assessment of non-technical skills in the Norwegian Helicopter Emergency Medical Services: a cross-sectional survey
  1. Håkon B Abrahamsen1,2,3,4,
  2. Stephen J M Sollid1,5,6,
  3. Lennart S Öhlund7,
  4. Jo Røislien5,8,
  5. Gunnar Tschudi Bondevik2,3
  1. 1Department of Research and Development, Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation, Drøbak, Norway
  2. 2Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  3. 3National Centre for Emergency Primary Health Care, Uni Research Health, Uni Research, Bergen, Norway
  4. 4Department of Industrial Economics, Risk Management and Planning, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway
  5. 5Department of Health Sciences, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway
  6. 6Air Ambulance Department, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  7. 7Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden
  8. 8Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Håkon Bjorheim Abrahamsen, Department of Research and Development, Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation, PO Box 94, Drøbak 1441, Norway; hakon.bjorheim.abrahamsen{at}norskluftambulanse.no

Abstract

Background Human error and deficient non-technical skills (NTSs) among providers of ALS in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) is a threat to patient and operational safety. Skills can be improved through simulation-based training and assessment.

Objective To document the current level of simulation-based training and assessment of seven generic NTSs in crew members in the Norwegian HEMS.

Methods A cross-sectional survey, either electronic or paper-based, of all 207 physicians, HEMS crew members (HCMs) and pilots working in the civilian Norwegian HEMS (11 bases), between 8 May and 25 July 2012.

Results The response rate was 82% (n=193). A large proportion of each of the professional groups lacked simulation-based training and assessment of their NTSs. Compared with pilots and HCMs, physicians undergo statistically significantly less frequent simulation-based training and assessment of their NTSs. Fifty out of 82 (61%) physicians were on call for more than 72 consecutive hours on a regular basis. Of these, 79% did not have any training in coping with fatigue. In contrast, 72 out of 73 (99%) pilots and HCMs were on call for more than 3 days in a row. Of these, 54% did not have any training in coping with fatigue.

Conclusions Our study indicates a lack of simulation-based training and assessment. Pilots and HCMs train and are assessed more frequently than physicians. All professional groups are on call for extended hours, but receive limited training in how to cope with fatigue.

  • training
  • critical care transport
  • accident prevention
  • prehospital care, helicopter retrieval
  • assessment

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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