Airway Management Basics

Teaching Airway Management: eLearning for Anesthesiology Students, Beth A. Watson, MEd, Marc McDonald, Kash Vahdat, MD, Bushra Khalil, MD, Cynthia Phelps, PhD, Irmgard Willcockson, PhD


For a patient undergoing a medical procedure, airway management is important to ensure the lungs are not aspirated. The fiberoptic bronchoscope has been in used in clinics for airway management and evaluation since 1967. Gaining skill competency requires practicing intubation with the fiberoptic laryngoscope or bronchoscope, usually acquired by a minimum of 10 successful intubations. Current anesthesiology training involves practice on patients and mannequins, requiring oversight by a professional. Additionally, mannequin experience provides an unrealistic view. This module uses online web-based technologies to avoid expense and coordination associated with current learning methods.

The module was developed using real video and incorporates the system of instructional development of Alessi and Trollip. Additionally learning theories of Carl Rogers (Experiential Learning) and Anchored Instruction were utilized to create an interactive, accessible and meaningful learning environment. The goal of this eLearning module is to provide an experience online as an alternative to using real patients and provide an avenue for needed practice by incorporating real patient video and "walking" the student through the intubation process. This eLearning module allows the students to visualize the view they would get with a fiberoptic bronchoscope with unlimited virtual practice and limited feedback

The eLearning module was tested on Anesthesiology residents online with SurveyGizmo. First year residents were less comfortable but had less prior intubation experience. The second year residents and later were more comfortable. Comments were mostly positive with one suggesting a preface to this module.

This eLearning module has value and was well received.

Successful students will be able to

  • Identify when to flex the fiberoptic bronchoscope tip to reach the epiglottis
  • Recognize when they reach the esophagus and how to get to the trachea
  • Use the lever on the fiberoptic bronchoscope to navigate past the uvula and through the epiglottis and trachea
  • Identify how far from the carina the intubation should stop

Important Links

Fiberoscope intubation

fiberoptic intubation tool Experience the use of the fiberoptic bronchoscope in a non-complex patient in this eModule.





    resultsCheck out the survey results