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Background: Simulation-based mastery learning (SBML) of central venous catheter (CVC) insertion improves trainee skill and patient care. How long skills are retained is unknown.

Method: This is a prospective cohort study. Subjects completed SBML and were required to meet or exceed a minimum passing score (MPS) for CVC insertion on a posttest. Skills were retested 6 and 12 months later and compared with posttest results to assess skill retention.

Results: Forty-nine of 61 (80.3%) subjects completed follow-up testing. Although performance declined from posttest where 100% met the MPS for CVC insertion, 82.4% to 87.1% of trainees passed the exam and maintained their high performance up to one year after training.

Conclusions: Skills acquired from SBML were substantially retained during one year. Individual performance cannot be predicted, so programs should use periodic testing and refresher training to ensure competence.

(C) 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges