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June 2006

Evaluation of a Novel Web-Based Pediatric Advanced Life Support Course

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine (Drs Gerard, Scalzo, and Laffey), and Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital (Mr Sinks and Mss Fendya and Seratti), St Louis, Mo.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160(6):649-655. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.6.649

Objective  To assess the educational efficacy of a Web-based pediatric advanced life support course (Web-PALS).

Design  Nonrandomized, prospective, cohort study.

Setting  University medical center.

Participants  Health care providers (includes physicians, nurses, paramedics, and respiratory therapists) taking either the Web-PALS or a traditional PALS course (Trad-PALS).

Main Exposure  Web-PALS.

Main Outcome Measures  Postcourse written examination scores and scored videotapes of students performing 5 PALS procedures were compared between study groups. Students completed precourse and postcourse questionnaires, rating on a 5-point Likert scale their self-confidence to perform PALS assessments and procedures. A structured, course satisfaction survey was given after students had taken the Web-PALS course.

Results  Eighty-six students completed the study (44 Web-PALS and 42 Trad-PALS). All students achieved a passing score on the written examination on their first attempt. Compared with students in the Trad-PALS group, students in the Web-PALS group scored slightly lower (97.1% vs 95.4%; difference, 1.7%; 95% confidence interval, 0.1-3.2). Mean overall videotape scores were similar among the Web-PALS and Trad-PALS groups (75.0% vs 73.0%; difference, 2.0%; 95% confidence interval, −2.0 to 6.0). After completing the Web-PALS course, the mean level of confidence improved from 3.77 to 4.28 (difference, 0.51; 95% confidence interval, 0.33-0.69). Ninety-six percent of respondents indicated that Web-PALS met all of the stated objectives of the PALS course. All respondents indicated that they would recommend Web-PALS to a colleague.

Conclusions  Students perceive Web-PALS as a positive educational experience. Though not identical to students taking the Trad-PALS course, they performed well on postcourse cognitive and psychomotor testing. These findings support Web-PALS as an acceptable format for administering the PALS course.