Mastery Learning of Bedside Procedural Skills

  • Jeffrey H. BarsukEmail author
  • Elaine R. Cohen
  • Diane B. Wayne
Part of the Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation book series (CHS)


Healthcare providers demonstrate wide variability in their skill at performing medical procedures safely. Objective measures of clinical skills are rarely used in making high-stakes personnel decisions. Hospitals and other privileging, licensing, and credentialing bodies use aggregate number systems to determine if individual healthcare providers are safe and ready to perform clinical procedures. However, many studies show that neither clinical experience (number of procedures performed) nor provider self-confidence correlate with actual procedural skill. Simulation-based mastery learning (SBML) can be used to ensure that individual healthcare providers are competent to perform invasive procedures. In this chapter, we discuss how SBML has been used to boost bedside procedural skills. Specifically, we describe how SBML curricula were developed using the Thomas and Kern framework for bedside procedural skills including thoracentesis, paracentesis, central venous catheter (CVC) insertion, and CVC maintenance. We also review how translational science outcomes are used to provide validity evidence about the effectiveness of these curricula.


Bedside procedures Central venous catheters Credentialing healthcare providers Curriculum development Mastery learning Paracentesis Skill variability Thoracentesis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey H. Barsuk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elaine R. Cohen
    • 2
  • Diane B. Wayne
    • 1
  1. 1.Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Departments of Medicine and Medical EducationChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of MedicineChicagoUSA

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