Background: Newly qualified doctors should be competent in advanced life support (ALS) and critical care. The Resuscitation Council has published a course about ALS for undergraduate medical students (the intermediate life support (ILS) course). However, there is no undergraduate-level course on assessing and treating critically ill patients, despite the fact that postgraduate courses on this topic are extremely popular. We have developed a new course called Direct Response Workshop for House Officer Preparation (DR WHO), which teaches both ALS and critical care at an undergraduate level.
Methods: We taught the Resuscitation Council ILS course to our 2003–4 cohort of final year medical students (n = 350), and the new course (DR WHO) to our 2004–5 cohort (n = 338). Students filled in feedback forms immediately after the courses, and a subset repeated the feedback forms 4 months after they had started work as house officers.
Course evaluation: Student and house officer feedback was positive. The DR WHO cohort was more confident in caring for critically ill patients (18/26 (69%) were confident after ILS, and 40/45 (89%) were confident after DR WHO (χ2 = 4.3; df = 1; p = 0.06)). Both cohorts were competent in ALS, each with a mean score of 18.6/20 in a finals level practical examination on this topic.
Conclusions: The DR WHO course is popular with the students and practical to run. The course needs to be re-evaluated to determine the long-term competency of graduates.
- ALS, advanced life support
- DR WHO, Direct Response Workshop for House Officer Preparation
- ILS, intermediate life support
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Competing interests: None declared.