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What they wished they’d learned as med students

Important skills for internship and the fourth-year medical school courses to acquire them:  A national survey of internal medicine residentsPereira AG et al.  Academic Medicine 2016.  [e published ahead of print]

Reviewed by Fatima Aly

What was the study question?

What skills and fourth-year courses did internal medicine residents feel were most important to prepare them for residency?

How was the study done?

PGY1, PGY2, and PGY3 internal medicine residents, after taking Internal Medicine In Training Examination, were asked to complete 2 questions:

  1. What skills do you feel would have been most important to learn prior to internship?  Respondents rated ten predefined skills as very important, somewhat important, not important or unsure.
  2. What fourth-year courses were most helpful in preparing you for internship?  They were asked to select up to 3 (from a drop down menu of 11 most common courses).

What were the results?

83% of the residents completed the questions and consented to have their responses used for research.

The skills that were identified as most important: 1) When to seek expert assistance, 2)

Time management and prioritizing tasks, and 3)  Communication with other health care providers around care transitions (admission, discharge, ICU transfer)

The fourth year courses that were identified as most helpful: 1) Sub internship/acting internship, 2) Ward rotations, and 3) Subspecialty electives in Internal Medicine.

What are the implications of the findings?

This information provides insight from the residents’ perspective and could help complement input from medical education leaders to formulate a plan for fourth year curriculum that will best prepare medical students for residency.

Editor’s note:  Learning about the residents’ perspectives is important.  Perhaps COMSEP or the APPD should replicate this study with pediatric residents.  And when I next teach about admission and discharge decisions or how to prioritize tasks or when to seek assistance, I will quote this study! (SLB)

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