The Effect of Hyper-Realistic Trauma Training on Emotional Intelligence in Second Year Military Medical Students

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Journal of Surgical Education


Intro: This project expanded upon previous exploration of emotional intelligence during the habituation for military second year medical students undergoing high-stress simulation with trauma and surgical skill training. The objective was to interpret emotional intelligence data before and after hyper-realistic immersion trauma training and to include a larger sample size than previously investigated.

Methods: Fifty increasingly intense mass casualty scenarios with simulated Emergency Department (ED) and Operating Room (OR) procedures were performed while students lived as if deployed in an Afghan village. Students rotated through a variety of roles in both the ED and the OR throughout the weeklong program. Second year medical students completed the EQ-i 2.0 Model for Emotional Intelligence on the first and last day of the intensive surgical skills week. Three different cohorts from three different graduating classes were followed with a total sample size of 96. Emotional intelligence in this model is defined as a combination of 5 domains each with three subdomains.

Results: A statistical analysis of the EQ data shows significant improvement in almost every subdomain of Emotional Intelligence from pre to post testing. The total EQ score was significantly higher with an average improvement of 3.95 points. All of the subdomains, except for emotional expression, empathy, and problem solving significantly improved following the intensive skills course. A 3 factor ANOVA including year and gender was also performed. R2 of the change in pre to post scores was around 90%, indicating practical significance in the score improvements.

Conclusion and impact: Total emotional intelligence significantly improved from pre to post scores as well as each of the 5 domains and most subdomains. Scores improved an average of 4 points after only a 5-day training course. This training led to the most improvement in the self-perception and stress management categories. Medicine, especially high stress specialties like surgery and trauma, require physicians who are able to make decisions at a moment's notice and cope well with stressful situations. It is essential that individuals develop these intangible skills, which can be measured by emotional intelligence. Further research is needed to determine the long-term impacts of the increased emotional intelligence seen with hyper-realistic training. Some specific areas to investigate include physician performance and emotional wellbeing.



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Emotional intelligence, Immersion training, Physician burn-out, Simulation, Stress management, Wellness