Cardiac arrest: addressing the training needs of medical students
Undergraduate teaching in resuscitation and life support needs more prominence in the curriculum, argue one group of intensive care doctors
- By: Gavin D Perkins, Jonathan Hulme, Danny F McAuley
The ability to recognise and manage critically ill patients until senior assistance arrives is an essential prerequisite for the transition from medical student to doctor. Despite this, resuscitation and emergency medicine are poorly represented in the undergraduate curriculum.
The Royal College of Physicians first defined minimal standards for resuscitation training for medical students in 19871: that basic life support (BLS) training be taught in the first term at medical school and revised in the second year. The standards also recommended that advanced life support training be introduced in the third year and tested as part of the final professional qualifying examinations. More recently the General Medical Council2 and the Resuscitation Council (UK)3 have reinforced the need for basic and advanced life support tuition to be developed as core skills for tomorrow's doctors. Several studies have shown, however, that resuscitation training is neglected in the undergraduate curriculum,5 UK medical schools have