Validating the transfer of skills acquired on a prostate biopsy simulator: a prospective, randomized, controlled study


Objectives To evaluate the ability of students to reproduce the skills acquired on a prostate biopsy simulator in a real-life situation. Design A prospective randomized controlled study was conducted. Medical students with no experience of prostate biopsy were randomized between arm A « conventional training » and arm B « simulator-enhanced training. » The training was performed for both groups on the simulator. The students in arm B were provided with visual and numerical feedback. The transfer of skills was assessed by recording the position of the 12 biopsies performed by each student on an unembalmed human cadaver using a 3D ultrasound mapping device. Setting The study was conducted in an academic urology department and the cadaver experiments in the adjoining anatomy laboratory. Results Twenty-four students were included, and 22 completed the study. The median score obtained on the simulator at the end of the training was 57% (53-61) for arm A and 66% (59-71) for arm B. The median score obtained on the cadaver by students trained with the simulator was 75% (60-80), statistically superior to the score obtained by students trained conventionally of 45% (30-60), p < 0.0001. The median score obtained by all students when performing biopsies in a real-life situation was 63% (50-80) versus 60% (56-70) for their last training on the simulator. Conclusion These results support the transfer of skills acquired on the simulator, and the superiority of a training curriculum integrating simulation, and performance feedback.

Journal of Surgical Education