Mixed-methods pilot study exploring the influence of the novel Paediatric Anaesthetic Drug Solution tool on clinician cognitive load during simulated paediatric rapid sequence intubation in the emergency department

Robyn Goodier (Lead / Corresponding author), Christopher Partyka, Nicholas Moore, Paul Middleton, Qabirul Abdullah

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Abstract

Aim: Rapid sequence intubation (RSI) in children is a low-incidence, high-risk event associated with cognitive overload and potential errors producing unfavourable outcomes. Cognitive aids, such as charts, algorithms and flow diagrams, are prompts that externalise and structure mental processes to reduce cognitive load, thereby reducing errors. The Paediatric Anaesthetic Emergency Drug Solution (PAEDS) approach combines a colour-coded chart and medication box with a simplified mathematical system of volume-based dosing; the effect of which on cognitive load during a simulated RSI has not previously been described.

Methods: A randomised, cross-over trial was conducted with 26 multi-disciplinary emergency medicine clinicians (doctors and nurses) allocated to four groups, performing four high-fidelity RSI simulations, two mandating the use of the PAEDS approach. This mixed methods study followed the pragmatic ontology using grounded theory methodology. Qualitative data were collected from nine individual interviews by a process of thematic analysis via an inductive approach, to allow for appropriate open and axial coding to occur. Quantitative data collected included cognitive loading using the raw NASA-Task Load Index as well as time to intubation and drug dosage details to assess for safety.

Results: Qualitative results showed that the PAEDS approach reduced cognitive loading through the use of both the labelled medication box and colour-coded medication charts. The PAEDS approach also showed improved perceived time pressure without feeling rushed, and with no recorded drug errors. Differences in the quantitative data for total cognitive load, error and time were not statistically significant, likely due to sample size.

Conclusion: The PAEDS approach is a multifaceted system which is not inferior to current practice, with some components described as an improvement. Further research on a larger sample size needs to be conducted to assess the aspects of the PAEDS approach both collectively and independently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-813
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume59
Issue number6
Early online date17 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • education
  • emergency medicine
  • general paediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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