How long a resident must train to achieve competency is an ongoing debate in medicine. For family medicine, there is an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)–approved proposal to examine the benefits of lengthening family medicine training from 3 to 4 years. The rationale for adding another year of residency in family medicine has included the following: (1) overcoming the effect of the duty hour limits in further reducing educational opportunities, (2) reversing the growing number of first-time takers of the American Board of Family Medicine primary board who fail to pass the exam, (3) enhancing the family medicine training experience by “decompressing” the ever-growing number of Residency Review Committee requirements to maintain accreditation, and (4) improving the overall quality of family medicine graduates.
Many nations are struggling with the design, implementation, and ongoing improvement of health care systems to meet the needs of their citizens. In the United Arab Emirates, a small nation with vast wealth, the lives of average citizens have evolved from a harsh, nomadic existence to enjoyment of the comforts of modern life. Substantial progress has been made in the provision of education, housing, health, employment, and other forms of social advancement. Having covered these basic needs, the government of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is responding to the challenge of developing a comprehensive health system to serve the needs of its citizens, including restructuring the nation's graduate medical education (GME) system. We describe how Abu Dhabi is establishing GME policies and infrastructure to develop and support a comprehensive health care system, while also being responsive to population health needs. We review recent progress in developing a systematic approach for developing GME infrastructure in this small emirate, and discuss how the process of designing a GME system to meet the needs of Emirati citizens has benefited from the experience of “Western” nations. We also examine the challenges we encountered in this process and the solutions adopted, adapted, or specifically developed to meet local needs. We conclude by highlighting how our experience “at the GME drawing board” reflects the challenges encountered by scholars, administrators, and policymakers in nations around the world as they seek to coordinate health care and GME resources to ensure care for populations.
Evidence-based practice in education requires high-quality evidence, and many in the medical education community have called for an improvement in the methodological quality of education research.
Our aim was to use a valid measure of medical education research quality to highlight the methodological quality of research publications and provide an overview of the recent internal medicine (IM) residency literature.
We searched MEDLINE and PreMEDLINE to identify English-language articles published in the United States and Canada between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011, focusing on IM residency education. Study quality was assessed using the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument (MERSQI), which has demonstrated reliability and validity. Qualitative articles were excluded. Articles were ranked by quality score, and the top 25% were examined for common themes, and 2 articles within each theme were selected for in-depth presentation.
The search identified 731 abstracts of which 223 articles met our inclusion criteria. The mean (±SD) MERSQI score of the 223 studies included in the review was 11.07 (±2.48). Quality scores were highest for data analysis (2.70) and lowest for study design (1.41) and validity (1.29). The themes identified included resident well-being, duty hours and resident workload, career decisions and gender, simulation medicine, and patient-centered outcomes.
Our review provides an overview of the IM medical education literature for 2010–2011, highlighting 5 themes of interest to the medical education community. Study design and validity are 2 areas where improvements in methodological quality are needed, and authors should consider these when designing research protocols.
A rapidly evolving body of literature in medical education can impact the practice of clinical educators in graduate medical education.
To aggregate studies published in the medical education literature in 2011 to provide teachers in general internal medicine with an overview of the current, relevant medical education literature.
We systematically searched major medical education journals and the general clinical literature for medical education studies with sound design and relevance to the educational practice of graduate medical education teachers. We chose 12 studies, grouped into themes, using a consensus method, and critiqued these studies.
Four themes emerged. They encompass (1) learner assessment, (2) duty hour limits and teaching in the inpatient setting, (3) innovations in teaching, and (4) learner distress. With each article we also present recommendations for how readers may use them as resources to update their clinical teaching. While we sought to identify the studies with the highest quality and greatest relevance to educators, limitation of the studies selected include their single-site and small sample nature, and the frequent lack of objective measures of outcomes. These limitations are shared with the larger body of medical education literature.
The themes and the recommendations for how to incorporate this information into clinical teaching have the potential to inform the educational practice of general internist educators as well as that of teachers in other specialties.
Exploring the trends in surgical education research offers insight into concerns, developments, and questions researchers are exploring that are relevant to teaching and learning in surgical specialties.
We conducted a review of the surgical education literature published between 2002 and 2012. The purpose was 2-fold: to provide an overview of the most frequently cited articles in the field of surgical education during the last decade and to describe the study designs and themes featured in these articles.
Articles were identified through Web of Science by using “surgical education” and “English language” as search terms. Using a feature in Web of Science, we tracked the number of citations of any publication. Of the 800 articles produced by the initial search, we initially selected 23 articles with 45 or more citations, and ultimately chose the 20 articles that were most frequently cited for our analysis.
Analysis of the most frequently cited articles published in US journals between the years 2002–2012 identified 7 research themes and presented them in order of frequency with which they appear: use of simulation, issues in student/resident assessment, specialty choice, patient safety, team training, clinical competence assessment, and teaching the clinical sciences, with surgical simulation being the central theme. Researchers primarily used descriptive methods.
Popular themes in surgical education research illuminate the information needs of surgical educators as well as topics of high interest to the surgical community.
Cultural competency is an important skill that prepares physicians to care for patients from diverse backgrounds.
We reviewed Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) program requirements and relevant documents from the ACGME website to evaluate competency requirements across specialties.
The program requirements for each specialty and its subspecialties were reviewed from December 2011 through February 2012. The review focused on the 3 competency domains relevant to culturally competent care: professionalism, interpersonal and communication skills, and patient care. Specialty and subspecialty requirements were assigned a score between 0 and 3 (from least specific to most specific). Given the lack of a standardized cultural competence rating system, the scoring was based on explicit mention of specific keywords.
A majority of program requirements fell into the low- or no-specificity score (1 or 0). This included 21 core specialties (leading to primary board certification) program requirements (78%) and 101 subspecialty program requirements (79%). For all specialties, cultural competency elements did not gravitate toward any particular competency domain. Four of 5 primary care program requirements (pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, family medicine, and psychiatry) acquired the high-specificity score of 3, in comparison to only 1 of 22 specialty care program requirements (physical medicine and rehabilitation).
The degree of specificity, as judged by use of keywords in 3 competency domains, in ACGME requirements regarding cultural competency is highly variable across specialties and subspecialties. Greater specificity in requirements is expected to benefit the acquisition of cultural competency in residents, but this has not been empirically tested.
Medical officers (trainees) in their first to third postgraduate years (PGY-1–3s) work in complex, busy environments, performing tasks that require concentration and application of learned skills. There are frequently competing demands, and being paged is among the most common.
We quantified and described the effect of interruptions that paging created on the clinical workflow of PGY-1–3s during ward duties.
This prospective study was conducted at 2 teaching hospitals in Sydney, Australia. Medical students were recruited as observers to log interruptions of PGY-1–3s' workflow arising from pages from other members of the hospital team.
Forty-two pairs consisting of a PGY-1–3 trainee and an observer were recruited, with 24 proceeding to data collection. Nursing was the most frequent source of pages (47%); other medical staff accounted for 16% of pages, allied health for 12%, and others for 24% (with pharmacy the most common). Pages commonly involved direct patient care (46%), followed by medication issues (21%). Tasks interrupted by pages encompassed direct patient care (37%), indirect patient care (15%), and documentation (12%). Only 27% of pages were assessed as appropriate and urgent, while 58% were considered appropriate but not urgent, and 16% were not appropriate. Only 38% of pages were judged to be clinically more important than the task they interrupted.
Pages frequently interrupted direct patient care activities for PGY-1–3 trainees, and a significant proportion of pages were identified as either not requiring immediate attention or not appropriate, resulting in potentially avoidable interruptions to clinical workflow. Alternate means of alerting trainees to nonurgent tasks may reduce interruptions and facilitate patient care.
Since the legalization of abortion services in the United States, provision of abortions has remained a controversial issue of high political interest. Routine abortion training is not offered at all obstetrics and gynecology (Ob-Gyn) training programs, despite a specific training requirement by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Previous studies that described Ob-Gyn programs with routine abortion training either examined associations by using national surveys of program directors or described the experience of a single program.
We set out to identify enablers of and barriers to Ob-Gyn abortion training in the context of a New York City political initiative, in order to better understand how to improve abortion training at other sites.
We conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 22 stakeholders from 7 New York City public hospitals and focus group interviews with 62 current residents at 6 sites.
Enablers of abortion training included program location, high-capacity services, faculty commitment to abortion training, external programmatic support, and resident interest. Barriers to abortion training included lack of leadership continuity, leadership conflict, lack of second-trimester abortion services, difficulty obtaining mifepristone, optional rather than routine training, and antiabortion values of hospital personnel.
Supportive leadership, faculty commitment, and external programmatic support appear to be key elements for establishing routine abortion training at Ob-Gyn residency training programs.
Prior data suggest that opportunities in family planning training may be limited during obstetrics and gynecology (Ob-Gyn) residency training, particularly at faith-based institutions with moral and ethical constraints, although this aspect of the Ob-Gyn curriculum has not been formally studied to date.
We compared Ob-Gyn residents' self-rated competency and intentions to provide family planning procedures at faith-based versus those of residents at non-faith-based programs.
We surveyed residents at all 20 Ob-Gyn programs in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin from 2008 to 2009. Residents were queried about current skills and future plans to perform family planning procedures. We examined associations based on program and residents' personal characteristics and performed multivariable logistic regression analysis.
A total of 232 of 340 residents (68%) from 17 programs (85%) returned surveys. Seven programs were faith-based. Residents from non-faith-based programs were more likely to be completely satisfied with family planning training (odds ratio [OR] = 3.4, 95% confidence limit [CI], 1.9–6.2) and to report they “understand and can perform on own” most procedures. Most residents, regardless of program type, planned to provide all surveyed family planning services.
Despite similar intentions to provide family planning procedures after graduation, residents at faith-based training programs were less satisfied with their family planning training and rate their ability to perform family planning services lower than residents at non-faith-based training programs.
Competence in evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an important clinical skill. Pediatrics residents are expected to acquire competence in EBM during their education, yet few validated tools exist to assess residents' EBM skills.
We sought to develop a reliable tool to evaluate residents' EBM skills in the critical appraisal of a research article, the development of a written EBM critically appraised topic (CAT) synopsis, and a presentation of the findings to colleagues.
Instrument development used a modified Delphi technique. We defined the skills to be assessed while reviewing (1) a written CAT synopsis and (2) a resident's EBM presentation. We defined skill levels for each item using the Dreyfus and Dreyfus model of skill development and created behavioral anchors using a frame-of-reference training technique to describe performance for each skill level. We evaluated the assessment instrument's psychometric properties, including internal consistency and interrater reliability.
The EBM Critically Appraised Topic Presentation Evaluation Tool (EBM C-PET) is composed of 14 items that assess residents' EBM and global presentation skills. Resident presentations (N = 27) and the corresponding written CAT synopses were evaluated using the EBM C-PET. The EBM C-PET had excellent internal consistency (Cronbach α = 0.94). Intraclass correlation coefficients were used to assess interrater reliability. Intraclass correlation coefficients for individual items ranged from 0.31 to 0.74; the average intraclass correlation coefficients for the 14 items was 0.67.
We identified essential components of an assessment tool for an EBM CAT synopsis and presentation with excellent internal consistency and a good level of interrater reliability across 3 different institutions. The EBM C-PET is a reliable tool to document resident competence in higher-level EBM skills.
Burnout in physicians is common, and studies show a prevalence of 30% to 78%. Identifying constructive coping strategies and personal characteristics that protect residents against burnout may be helpful for reducing errors and improving physician satisfaction.
We explored the complex relationships between burnout, behaviors, emotional coping, and spirituality among internal medicine and internal medicine-pediatrics residents.
We anonymously surveyed 173 internal medicine and medicine-pediatrics residents to explore burnout, coping, and spiritual attitudes. We used 3 validated survey instruments: the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Carver Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE) Inventory, and the Hatch Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale (SIBS).
A total of 108 (63%) residents participated, with 31 (28%) reporting burnout. Residents who employed strategies of acceptance, active coping, and positive reframing had lower emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (all, P < .03). Residents who reported denial or disengagement had higher emotional exhaustion and depersonalization scores. Personal accomplishment was positively correlated with the SIBS total score (r = +.28, P = .003), as well as the internal/fluid domain (r = +.32, P = .001), existential axes (r = +.32, P = .001), and humility/personal application domain (r = +.23, P = .02). The humility/personal application domain also was negatively correlated with emotional exhaustion (r = −.20, P = .04) and depersonalization (r = −.25, P = .009). No activity or demographic factor affected any burnout domain.
Burnout is a heterogeneous syndrome that affects many residents. We identified a range of emotional and spiritual coping strategies that may have protective benefit.
Studies across a range of specialties have consistently yielded positive associations between performance on in-training examinations and board certification examinations, supporting the use of the in-training examination as a valuable formative feedback tool for residents and residency programs. That association to date, however, has not been tested in child and adolescent psychiatry residents.
This is the first study to explore the relationship between performance on the American College of Psychiatrists' Child Psychiatry Resident In-Training Examination (CHILD PRITE) and subsequent performance on the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology's (ABPN) subspecialty multiple-choice examination (Part I) in child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP).
Pearson correlation coefficients were used to examine the relationship between performance on the CHILD PRITE and the CAP Part I examination for 342 fellows.
Second-year CAP fellows performed significantly better on the CHILD PRITE than did the first-year fellows. The correlation between the CHILD PRITE total score and the CAP Part I examination total score was .41 (P = .01) for first-year CAP fellows; it was .52 (P = .01) for second-year CAP fellows.
The significant correlations between scores on the 2 tests show they assess the same achievement domain. This supports the use of the CHILD PRITE as a valid measure of medical knowledge and formative feedback tool in child and adolescent psychiatry.
As resident attrition disrupts educational and workload balance and reduces the number of graduating physicians to care for patients, an ongoing goal of graduate medical education programs is to retain residents.
We compared annual rates of resident attrition in obstetrics and gynecology (Ob-Gyn) with other clinical specialties of similar or larger size during a recent 10-year period, and explored the reasons for resident attrition.
In this observational study, we analyzed annual data from the American Medical Association Graduate Medical Education Census between academic years 2000 and 2009 for residents who entered Ob-Gyn and other core clinical specialties. Our primary outcome was the trend in averaged annual attrition rates.
The average annual attrition was 196 ± 12 (SD) residents, representing 4.2% ± 0.5% of all Ob-Gyn residents. Rates of attrition were consistently higher among men (5.3%) and international medical school graduates (7.6%). The annual rate of attrition was similar to that for other clinical specialties (mean: 4.0%; range: from 1.5% in emergency medicine to 7.9% in psychiatry). The attrition rates for Ob-Gyn residents were relatively stable for the 10-year period (range: 3.6% in 2008 to 5.1% in 2006). Common reasons for attrition were transition to another specialty (30.0%), withdrawal/dismissal (28.2%), transfer to another Ob-Gyn program (25.4%), and leave of absence (2.2%). These proportions remained fairly constant during this 10-year period.
The average annual attrition rate of residents in Ob-Gyn was 4.2%, comparable to most other core clinical specialties.
Residents' ability to interpret statistics is important for scholarly pursuits and understanding evidence-based medicine. Yet there is limited research assessing residents' statistical literacy and their training in statistics.
In 2011 we surveyed US obstetrics-gynecology residents participating in the Council for Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology In-Training Examination about their statistical literacy and statistical literacy training.
Our response rate was 95% (4713 of 4961). About two-thirds (2980 of 4713) of the residents rated their statistical literacy training as adequate. Female respondents were more likely to rate their statistical literacy training poorly, with 25% (897 of 3575) indicating inadequate literacy compared with 17% (141 of 806) of the male respondents (P < .001). Respondents performed poorly on 2 statistical literacy questions, with only 26% (1222 of 4713) correctly answering a positive predictive value question and 42% (1989 of 4173) correctly defining a P value. A total of 51% (2391 of 4713) of respondents reported receiving statistical literacy training through a journal club, 29% (1359 of 4713) said they had informal training, 15% (711 of 4713) said that they had statistical literacy training as part of a course, and 11% (527 of 4713) said that they had no training.
The findings suggest that statistical literacy training for residents could still be improved. A total of 37% (1743 of 4713) of obstetrics-gynecology residents have received no formal statistical literacy training in residency. Fewer residents answered the 2 statistical literacy questions correctly compared with previous studies.
The graduate medical education community uses results from the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) to inform decisions about individuals' readiness for postgraduate training.
We sought to determine the relationship between performance on the USMLE and the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) Part 1 Certification Examination using a national sample of examinees, and we considered the relationship in the context of undergraduate medical education location and examination content.
Approximately 7800 individuals met inclusion criteria. The relationships between USMLE scores and ABA Part 1 pass rates were examined, and predictions for the strength of the relationship between USMLE content areas and ABA performance were compared with observed relationships.
Pearson correlations between ABA Part 1 scores and USMLE Steps 1, 2 (clinical knowledge), and 3 scores for first-taker US/Canadian graduates were .59, .56, and .53, respectively. A clear relationship was demonstrated between USMLE scores and pass rates on ABA Part 1, and content experts were able to successfully predict the USMLE content categories that would least or most likely relate to ABA Part 1 scores.
The analysis provided evidence on a national scale that results from the USMLE and the ABA Part 1 were correlated and that success on the latter examination was associated with level of USMLE performance. Both testing programs have been successful in conceptualizing many of the knowledge areas of interest and in developing test content to reflect those areas.
Rising costs pose a major threat to US health care. Residency programs are being asked to teach residents how to provide cost-conscious medical care.
An educational intervention incorporating the American College of Radiology appropriateness criteria with lectures on cost-consciousness and on the actual hospital charges for abdominal imaging was implemented for residents at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, CA. We hypothesized that residents would order fewer abdominal imaging examinations for patients with complaints of abdominal pain after the intervention. We analyzed the type and number of abdominal imaging studies completed for patients admitted to the inpatient teaching service with primary abdominal complaints for 18 months before (738 patients) and 12 months following the intervention (632 patients).
There was a significant reduction in mean abdominal computed tomography (CT) scans per patient (1.7–1.4 studies per patient, P < .001) and total abdominal radiology studies per patient (3.1–2.7 studies per patient, P = .02) following the intervention. The avoidance of charges solely due to the reduction in abdominal CT scans following the intervention was $129 per patient or $81,528 in total.
A simple educational intervention appeared to change the radiologic test-ordering behavior of internal medicine residents. Widespread adoption of similar interventions by residency programs could result in significant savings for the health care system.
Self-directed learning (SDL) skills, such as self-reflection and goal setting, facilitate learning throughout a physician's career. Yet, residents do not often formally engage in these activities during residency.
To develop resident SDL skills, we created a learning coach role for a junior faculty member to meet with second-year residents monthly to set learning goals and promote reflection.
The study was conducted from 2008–2010 at the Brown Family Medicine Residency in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. During individual monthly meetings with the learning coach, residents entered their learning goals and reflections into an electronic portfolio. A mixed-methods evaluation, including coach's ratings of goal setting and reflection, coach's meeting notes, portfolio entries, and resident interviews, was used to assess progress in residents' SDL abilities.
Coach ratings of 25 residents' goal-setting ability increased from a mean of 1.9 to 4.6 (P < .001); ratings of reflective capacity increased from a mean of 2.0 to 4.7 (P < .001) during each year. Resident portfolio entries showed a range of domains for goal setting and reflection. Resident interviews demonstrated progressive independence in setting goals and appreciation of the value of reflection for personal development.
Introducing a learning coach, use of a portfolio, and providing protected time for self-reflected learning allowed residents to develop SDL skills at their own pace. The learning coach model may be applicable to other residency programs in developing resident lifelong learning skills.