Female soldiers are at greater risk of injury and have higher death rates compared to male soldiers. Female casualties are underrepresented in existing training materials for battlefield medics and the patient simulators are often masculine in appearance. The current study assesses the suitability of a female retrofit for male patient simulators and explores the existence of disparities in treatment between male and female patient simulators among combat medic trainees. Thirty-six participants undergoing training at a U.S. Army Medical Simulation Training Center performed a series of basic procedures on both a male patient simulator and a similar patient simulator with a female retrofit. The chest seal procedure was video-recorded and coded for errors committed by the trainees and analyzed to determine whether the apparent gender and order of the patient simulators affected error likelihood and rate. The results indicated that gender and order did not affect the likelihood of optimal performance, but if trainees treated the female retrofitted patient simulator first, they tended to commit more errors. Therefore, the use of a female retrofit may be useful for providing parity in training for gender; however, the issue of gender disparities remains a pressing issue for medical device design and research.

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