An effective snakebite first aid training method for medics in the Chinese troops: a RCT.
BACKGROUND: Snakebites can lead to lifelong consequences and is one of the main causes of death among military troops worldwide. However, few Chinese military medics know the proper first aid procedures for snakebites. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the impact of the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) and checklist on Chinese military medics' ability to manage snakebite first aid.
METHODS: This study was a prospective single-blind randomized controlled trial conducted in a military medical university of China from May to June 2017. A questionnaire-based survey was performed to collect the participants' socio-demographic profiles before the baseline measurement. During the baseline measurement, participants were requested to provide corresponding first aid that was responsive to the simulative situation portrayed by the SPs (standardized patients) and the evaluators then scored their performances according to a checklist for snakebite first aid scoring table. After the baseline measurement, they were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups after stratification according to their baseline performance scores: group A received a self-learning course with textbooks (n = 27), group B received a self-learning training on the SOP and checklist (n = 27) and group C was engaged in an interactive discussion panel regarding the SOP and checklist (n = 26). After the interventions, participants received outcome measurements about snakebite first aid key points capability from the same evaluator and SP for each group to avoid observational error. The reviewers were blinded about the grouping in the trial.
RESULTS: The baseline measurement yielded no significant difference (H = 1.647, P = 0.439) among the three groups. The post-intervention scores were higher than the pre-intervention scores for all three (A, B and C) groups (P = 0.008, P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). There was significant difference of the post-intervention scores among the three groups (F = 8.841, P < 0.001). Both post-intervention scores of group B and group C were higher than that of group A (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001, respectively), but no difference was found between group B and C (P = 0.695). The acceptance questionnaire score of SOP and checklist was mostly very satisfied, as the final scores of group B and group C were 4.62 ± 0.61 and 4.82 ± 0.45, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, the implementation of an SOP and checklist for snakebite first aid was shown to update and improve first aid treatment concepts in military medics. These intervention methods played an important role in improving the medics' cognition and understanding of snakebite first aid. Therefore, this finding suggests that SOP and checklist training should be further implemented in Chinese troops for snakebite care.