Simulators are used for training competencies including blood pressure (BP) measurement. Whether such training translates to competency in real life is unclear.
We randomized 145 first-year undergraduate
medical students to train on a BP simulator or arms of colleagues. After training, all students were assessed for accuracy (within 4 mm Hg above or below assessor's simultaneous recording) and methodology of BP recordings by an objectively structured clinical examination on real patients.
Overall, 67 (46.2%) and 92 (63.4%) students accurately measured systolic and diastolic BP, respectively. Forty-three (58.1%) of 74 students in the conventional training recorded systolic BP accurately compared with 24 (33.8%) of 71 students in simulator training (P
= 0.005). Diastolic BP was accurately recorded by 56 (75.7%) of 74 students in conventional group as against 36 (50.7%) of 71 students trained on simulator (P
= 0.002). Median (interquartile range) objectively structured clinical examination score in conventional group was 8 (7–9) compared with 6 (5–7) in simulator group (P
Simulator-based training did not translate to clinical competence in terms of accuracy and methodology of BP recordings in real-life settings. Notwithstanding its advantages, simulator-based BP training needs integration with human element to make it meaningful and relevant to clinical practice.