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J R Soc Med. 1992 October; 85(10): 603–604.
PMCID: PMC1293685

Endotracheal intubation skills of medical students.


The ability and confidence of clinical medical students to insert endotracheal tubes correctly and quickly and to recognize oesophageal misplacement was evaluated. Ten (33%) of the medical students intubated the trachea correctly at their first attempt but 14 (47%) incorrectly identified the position of the endotracheal tube. However, recognition improved by their second and third attempts (70% and 80% respectively). Ninety-three percent of students intubated correctly on their third attempt. Although medical students can obtain better results at correct tube placement with repeated attempts under optimum conditions--a practice effect--and do better at recognizing correct tube placement there is still a persistent failure to recognize endotracheal tube misplacement, ie oesophageal intubation. It is the ability to recognize oesophageal intubation promptly that is a life-saving skill. This essential skill should be taught during the introductory anaesthesia programme through the use of clinical patients.

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Selected References

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