Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Assessing and Improving Performance of Graduating Medical Students in a Communication-focused Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA)

Jennifer L. Trainor,Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine,Chicago,IL,Lindsay . Thome,Northwestern Memorial Hospital,Chicago,IL,David B. Salzman,Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine,Chicago,IL,Diane B. Wayne,Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine,Chicago,IL,Mark D. Adler,Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine,Chicago,IL


Interprofessional communication is recognized as a key component of safe, effective team patient care. Little is known about medical student proficiency in answering pages from nurses. Residents routinely answer pages unsupervised, however most have little prior experience and have received limited feedback on their skills.


We sought to address this gap by 1) evaluating baseline interprofessional communication skills of graduating medical students responding to simulated pages from nurses; and 2) assessing the impact of an educational intervention on communication skills.


All 132 eligible students completed the entire protocol.  Mean scores were higher in all communication domains in the post-test as compared to pre-test (p<0.05), with average effect size of 1.5. (Table) At baseline, students performed well in 3/6 domains: professionalism/courteousness, using clarifying questions, and communicating orders and a plan of action. However, students had lower scores for seeking input/opinion from the nurse, sharing their mental model, and employing closed loop communication. 


Despite completing all curricular requirements, graduating medical students did not reliably use communication best practices nor share their mental models in a way that would level the hierarchy across professions when answering pages. Following a focused communication intervention, students demonstrated meaningful improvement in these domains. Further study is needed on the best approach to fully prepare graduating medical students to participate in interprofessional teams.