Fluency training in medical education: Improving competence in IV fluid therapy knowledge and skills

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Objectives: Intravenous fluid (IV) therapy is an important component of care for many hospital patients, especially in perioperative and acute care settings. However, errors in fluid composition and dosing can be life-threatening. To achieve competent professional performance, i.e., accurate and fluent, it is vitally important that medical students receive effective training in IV fluid therapy.

Methods: In this study, we explored how Precision Teaching (PT), a behaviour analytic teaching method, can enhance outcomes of usual medical education techniques.

A total of 178 third-year medical students participated in the study during the IV fluid therapy training week. All students completed a multiple-choice test pre- and post-training. In addition to standard IV fluid therapy teaching, the experimental intervention group (n=83 students) used SAFMEDS (Say All Fast MinuteEvery Day Shuffled) cards approximately 3-5 times per day for 5 days. The other 95 students (control group) received teaching as usual, but did not undergo the additional training.

Results: Results show that the SAFMEDS boosted performance of the intervention group on the MCQ by 20 percentage points when compared to the control group. Fluency (accuracy and speed) of performance on SAFMED trials increased markedly during the intervention week and there was evidence that weaker students benefitted in particular.

Conclusions: Implications for medical education are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2019


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