To assess the competence of psychiatry trainees in identifying major abnormalities in a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG). This was a three-stage prospective study. In stage 1, selected ECG traces were presented to the trainees. They were then asked to comment on any abnormalities of note on the ECG traces. In stage 2, an ECG e-book was made available to the trainees and the survey repeated. In stage 3, ECG workshop sessions were introduced in the mandatory teaching programme and the survey was repeated.
The number of correct responses after the introduction of the workshops were significantly more when compared with correct responses in stage 2 (P = 0.0002), and stage 1 (P = 0.0091). When compared with stage 1, the correct responses in stage 2 actually showed deterioration (P = 0.0284).
Our study not only shows that providing access to an e-book is not enough to improve these skills, it also shows that ECG refresher sessions improved the diagnostic accuracy markedly.
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