How to Improve Resident Firearm Safety Education

Document Type

Quality Improvement/Patient Safety/Education Innovation

Date of Poster


Date of Submission

May 2020


Abstract: How to Improve Resident Firearm Safety Education

Hannah Hollon, MD, Darina Dinov, DO, Elizabeth Wolf, MD, MPH

Background: Gun violence is the second leading cause of death in children, and one third of children in the United States live with a gun in the home.1 Despite this public health challenge, there is a lack of firearm safety education in residency programs. One study from 1997 surveyed pediatric residencies across the country and found that 34% of programs reported having formal firearm safety education as part of their curricula. The programs cited lack of trained personnel, educational resources, and time as barriers.2

Methods: We adapted the Be SMART curriculum for the pediatric residency program using state specific laws and local information about where gun storage devices could be obtained. We gave a lecture to pediatric residents about safe firearm storage, modeling appropriate behavior toward guns, and how to recognize the role of firearms in teen suicide. We measured residents’ knowledge of firearm safety before and after the didactic session through a five-question survey. Participation in the survey was voluntary. We compared the proportion of correct answers before and after the lecture was given using a Chi-Square test.

Results: We found that the mean score was 61% before the lecture and 68% correct after the lecture, which was not a statistically significant difference, X2(1, n = 36) = 0.35, p = .55.

Conclusion: Our educational intervention showed some improvement in resident knowledge of firearm safety and policy, but our findings were not statistically significant. There remains a great need to increase and improve resident education, specifically how to use safe storage devices and appropriate language to use with families. This type of training should begin in medical school and continue into residency. This study suggests the need for more effective measures to increase knowledge, which may include small group discussion, case studies, or simulations.


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