Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Military medicine




Suppl 3


Humans; Students, Medical; Educational Status; Clinical Decision-Making; Computer Simulation; Emergency Medicine




INTRODUCTION: Operation Bushmaster is a high-fidelity military medical field practicum for fourth-year medical students at the Uniformed Services University. During Operation Bushmaster, students treat live-actor and mannequin-based simulated patients in wartime scenarios throughout the five-day practicum. This study explored the impact of participating in Operation Bushmaster on students' decision-making in a high-stress, operational environment, a crucial aspect of their future role as military medical officers.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A panel of emergency medicine physician experts used a modified Delphi technique to develop a rubric to evaluate the participants' decision-making abilities under stress. The participants' decision-making was assessed before and after participating in either Operation Bushmaster (control group) or completing asynchronous coursework (experimental group). A paired-samples t-test was conducted to detect any differences between the means of the participants' pre- and posttest scores. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Uniformed Services University #21-13079.

RESULTS: A significant difference was detected in the pre- and posttest scores of students who attended Operation Bushmaster (P < .001), while there was no significant difference in the pre- and posttest scores of students who completed online, asynchronous coursework (P = .554).

CONCLUSION: Participating in Operation Bushmaster significantly improved the control group participants' medical decision-making under stress. The results of this study confirm the effectiveness of high-fidelity simulation-based education for teaching decision-making skills to military medical students.


Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States 2023. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

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