BACKGROUND: Simulation-based mastery learning (SBML) of central venous catheter (CVC) insertion improves trainee skill and patient care. How long skills are retained is unknown. METHOD: This is a prospective cohort study. Subjects completed SBML and were required to meet or exceed a minimum passing score (MPS) for CVC insertion on a posttest. Skills were retested 6 and 12 months later and compared with posttest results to assess skill retention. RESULTS: Forty-nine of 61 (80.3%) subjects completed follow-up testing. Although performance declined from posttest where 100% met the MPS for CVC insertion, 82.4% to 87.1% of trainees passed the exam and maintained their high performance up to one year after training. CONCLUSIONS: Skills acquired from SBML were substantially retained during one year. Individual performance cannot be predicted, so programs should use periodic testing and refresher training to ensure competence.
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