Objective:To determine the methods of evaluation used routinely by training programs and to obtain information concerning the frequencies with which various evaluation methods were used.
Design:Survey of residents who had recently completed internal medicine training.
Participants:5,693 respondents who completed residencies in 1987 and 1988 and were registered as first-time takers for the 1988 Certifying Examination in Internal Medicine. This constituted a 76% response rate.
Main results:Virtually all residents were aware that routine evaluations were submitted on inpatient rotations, but were more uncertain about the evaluation process in the outpatient setting and the methods used to assess their bumanistic qualities. Most residents had undergone a Clinical Evaluation Exercise (CEX); residents’ clinical skills were less likely to be evaluated by direct observation of history or physical examination skills. Resident responses were aggregated within training programs to determine the pattern of evaluation across programs. The majority of programs used Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification, medical record audit, and the national In-Training Examination to assess most of their residents. Performance-based tests were used selectively by a third or more of the programs. Breast and pelvic examination skills and ability to perform sigmoidoscopy were thought not to be adequately assessed by the majority of residents in almost half of the programs.
Conclusions:While most residents are receiving routine evaluation, including a CEX, increased efforts to educate residents about their evaluation system, to strengthen evaluation in the outpatient setting, and to evaluate certain procedural skills are recommended.