Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Are battlefield and prehospital trauma scenarios an effective educational tool to teach leadership and crisis resource management skills to undergraduate medical students?
  1. Matt Ellington1 and
  2. S Farrukh2
  1. 1 254 Medical Regiment, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2 Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Matt Ellington, 254 Medical Regiment, Cambridge CB1 8HQ, UK; matt.ellington{at}


Introduction Leadership and crisis resource management (CRM) skills are important skills for doctors, however there is a recognised lack of undergraduate leadership education. There remains debate over how best to teach leadership and CRM skills, and poor leadership skills among clinicians are associated with adverse patient outcomes. We examined whether high-fidelity battlefield and prehospital scenarios can improve leadership and CRM skills.

Method This was a prospective observational study with students self-reporting their leadership and CRM skills using the Ottawa Crisis Resource Management Global Ranking Scale (OCRMGRS) before and after completing the Cambridge University Emergency Medicine Society Battlefield and Pre-Hospital Trauma course. The course involves a mixture of small group tutorials and practical high-fidelity battlefield and prehospital trauma scenarios. Faculty also completed the OCRMGRS for the first and last candidates at the scenarios. The mean precourse versus mean postcourse score of the OCRMGRS was analysed using a two-tailed t-test.

Results 46 students completed paired OCRMGRS before and after the course. The mean precourse scores for each of the domains (leadership, communication skills, resource utilisation, problem solving skills and situational awareness) were calculated. There was a statistically significant (p<0.05) increase in both self-reported and faculty-reported scores across all domains, and the increase remained at 1-year follow-up.

Conclusions Leadership and CRM skills are important non-clinical skills for doctors, however there is debate over how best to teach them. High-fidelity battlefield and prehospital trauma scenarios are an effective means of teaching leadership and CRM skills to civilian medical students.

  • accident and emergency medicine
  • trauma management
  • orthopaedic and trauma surgery
  • medical education and training

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors ME and SF contributed equally to study design, data collection, analysis, paper writing and revision.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data are available upon reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.