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Jefferson DNP Nurse Anesthesia students get hands-on practice

The Impact of Simulation-Based Education Utilizing 3D-Printed Task Trainers to Improve Surgical Airway Preparedness

Students in the DNP-Nurse Anesthesia Program ( at the Jefferson School of Nursing are practicing various difficult airway scenarios using the Emergency Cricothyrotomy (EC) procedure on 3D-printed tracheas.

BACKGROUND: Anesthesia providers are highly skilled at performing basic airway management but also must remain proficient in difficult airway scenarios requiring emergency cricothyrotomy (EC). Patients are at risk for adverse outcomes, which escalate over time if not managed effectively and efficiently by the provider (Kaiser, 2018).

However, the low incidence of emergency airway events, coupled with the high skill level requirement of an emergency cricothyrotomy, has resulted in decreased skill proficiency and self-confidence across anesthesia providers. EC also needs more presence in medical and nursing curricula, as demonstrated in a survey of anesthesia providers with less than five years of experience (Fayed et al., 2020).

As a result, it is essential to incorporate education and skills development into the anesthesia resident and nurse anesthesia curriculum. A literature review yielding 95 articles identified simulation-based education (SBE) as a valuable medium to increase provider knowledge, skills, and self-confidence related to EC (Alanazi et al., 2017).

Despite the literature, there currently needs to be more consensus on the best format of simulation education and data directly related to student nurse anesthetists (SRNAs). The project team utilized a pretest-posttest research design to evaluate the impact of education on the knowledge and confidence level of SRNAs to perform an EC.

The survey consisted of a 5-point Likert Scale and multiple-choice questions to assess knowledge and evaluate self-confidence. The intervention consisted of a live demonstration and an independent simulation using 3D-printed tracheas.

The Wilcoxon sign rank test and paired t-test were the primary statistical tests for data analysis. Limitations of the study involved using a small sample size and lack of generalizability.

Pictured Above: The "dragon skin" was made in different shades to be more inclusive.

Pictured Above: Jefferson DNP Nurse Anesthesia students (Hannah Sanders, Mina Youm, and Christine Goldman) receive hands-on practice performing the Emergency Cricothyrotomy (EC) procedure on 3D-printed tracheas at the Jefferson College of Nursing. Skin representing patients of different races ("dragon skin") was also made at Jefferson. Melker Emergency Cricothyrotomy Catheter kits were used to familiarize students with real equipment.

Pictured Above: Jefferson DNP Nurse Anesthesia Class of 2023 students practice the Emergency Cricothyrotomy (EC) procedure on 3D-printed tracheas after viewing an educational video on the procedure, indications, contraindications, and related information.



🔹Monica Sucharski, RN, BSN, SRNA

🔹Hannah Sanders, RN, BSN, SRNA

🔹Stefanie Yuen, RN, BSN, SRNA


🔹Kristen Simmons, DNP, CRNA, CHSE

🔹Jacqueline Mainwaring, PhD, DNP, MS, CRNA, CNE


🔹Maryanne Halligan, DNP, RN,CCRN-K, CHSE, CNML



Learn more about the Jefferson DNP Nurse Anesthesia Program here.


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