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Crisis simulation helps find the right anaesthesia trainees

Home > About Us > News > Crisis simulation helps find the right anaesthesia trainees

​Anaesthesia investigators
(left to right) Dr Candida Marane,
Dr Adriano Cocciante, Dr Elizabeth
Hessian, Dr Martin Nguyen and
Dr John Ozcan were involved
in the innovative study which
put potential anaesthesia
trainees in a high-pressure
simulated medical crisis.

Crisis simulation helps find the right anaesthesia trainees

Selecting suitable trainees into the highly competitive, rigorous field of anaesthesia will become easier thanks to an innovative, new Western Health study.

Recruiters are moving away from traditional, standard methods of selection to focus on candidate performance in a high-pressure simulated medical crisis, leadership and communication skills, and personality testing to choose the right registrars.

Led by Dr Elizabeth Hessian, Deputy Director of the Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at Western Health, this new approach looks at alternative ways to recruit anaesthesia registrars to the training program.

Trainee selection has traditionally relied on standard methods of curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation and interview – which can be poor predictors of future performance.

“Entry into anaesthesia training is highly competitive, and we want to ensure that our patients are cared for anaesthetists who have been optimally selected for their suitability to train and work in this area,” Dr Hessian said.

“Evaluation of CV, references and interview provides a lot of information about candidate suitability, but sometimes we have situation where candidates we know are good in the theatre setting fail to obtain entry because they do not interview well.”

The 30 candidates shortlisted for interview with the North Western Anaesthesia Training Scheme were put through their paces during the selection day held at the Western Centre for Health Research and Education at Sunshine Hospital.

The process included an interview; high-pressure simulated medical crisis, computer-based personality test; and feedback survey.

Department of Anaesthesia investigators closely looked at non-technical skills including leadership, teamwork, resource management and situational awareness.

Simulation is increasingly being used as an important component of clinical education at Western Health and this study follows on from the recent research into the use of simulation for selection of critical care trainees.

Candidate Dr Jane Doan said the process gave her the opportunity to show the leadership and communication skills she would bring to the role.

“An interview doesn’t show what kind of trainee you will be and how you will react to a stressful situation but this process, especially sim training does,” she said.

This story also appeared in the Health Victoria magazine.