Urology Resident Training With an Unexpected Patient Death Scenario: Experiential Learning With High Fidelity Simulation

Matthew T. Gettman, R. Jeffrey Karnes, Jacqueline J. Arnold, Janee M. Klipfel, Helen T. Vierstraete, Mary E. Johnson, Daniel R. Johnson, Bradley C. Leibovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: Communicating unexpected news of a patient death is rarely encountered in urology. We evaluated resident performance during an unexpected patient death scenario involving high fidelity simulation. We also studied simulation as a tool to teach and assess nontechnical skills in urology. Materials and Methods: An unexpected patient death scenario was developed at a simulation center using high fidelity mannequins, urology residents, critical care fellows, nurses, hospital chaplains and actors. Scenario objectives addressed Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies. The 19 urology residents in training years 2 to 6 participated in the scenario. Performance was evaluated using 5-point Likert scale questionnaires and checklists completed by residents, faculty and actors. Results: Overall resident performance was satisfactory in the simulation scenario. Verification of code status was identified as an area requiring improvement. Euphemisms for death were more commonly used in the initial delivery (16 residents or 84.2%) than the preferred words died or death (3 or 15.8%). After completing the scenario the perceived competency of residents increased from 73.7% before to 94.7% after the scenario. In addition, all residents agreed that the simulation experience was useful and overall realistic, and it should be part of the training curriculum. Conclusions: Evaluation of urology resident performance was possible during an unexpected patient death scenario. Upon completion of the scenario perceived competency of the simulation task was increased. High fidelity simulation was found to be an effective method for teaching and assessing the acquisition of nontechnical skills. All residents agreed that the simulation was useful and should be included in urological training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • core competencies
  • mannequin
  • simulation
  • standardized patient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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