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Thomas the Tank Engine improves the qualitative understanding of hypoxaemia.

Cosgrove, J. F. and Nesbitt, I. D. and Kennedy, D. J. and Sawdon, M. and Fordy, K. and Laws, P. and Green, J. (2009) 'Thomas the Tank Engine improves the qualitative understanding of hypoxaemia.', 11th Current Controversies in Anaesthesia and Peri-Operative Medicine Conference and the Intensive Care Society of Ireland (ICSI) Autumn Meeting. Dingle. Co. Kerry, Ireland, 14-18 October 2009.


Despite apparent adequate background knowledge many physiological concepts are poorly understood by medical students1. Analogous imagery can describe such concepts2, 3. Thomas the Tank Engine has previously demonstrated an enhanced understanding of hypoxaemia4, 5. The effectiveness of such imagery has not however been evaluated in medical student education. Two 30-minute Microsoft Power Point lectures entitled “Oxygen delivery and hypoxaemia” were delivered to Year One Medical Students at the Universities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham as end-of-year revision. The control lecture was a conventional presentation; the study lecture contained additional images of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends in order to demonstrate oxygen delivery and hypoxaemia. The local NHS Trust’s Research and Development Department advised that Local Research Ethics approval was unnecessary. Course tutors randomised students into two groups, according to their sub-group within their year group. Students completed an evaluative questionnaire of eight aspects of lecture quality including organisation, relevance of imagery to understanding the subject and making the lecture interesting; scored 1 to 5: strongly agree/ agree/ undecided/ disagree/ strongly disagree. Scores from the two groups were compared using the Mann-Whitney U-test. A p value <0.05 was regarded as significant. Two hundred and forty one students participated (control group n=129, study group n=112.) Results are outlined in table 1. Images of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends significantly improved lecture organisation, interest in the lecture and qualitative understanding of oxygen delivery and the development of hypoxaemia for Year One Medical Students.

Item Type:Conference item (Poster)
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Record Created:06 Aug 2010 10:05
Last Modified:10 Aug 2010 13:24

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