, Volume 472, Issue 10, pp 2932-2937
Date: 21 Jun 2014

Not the Last Word: The ACGME Core Competencies are Overrated

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In an effort to monitor residency programs’ performance [3], the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) defined a list of “core competencies” to be mastered by all residents: “patient care,” “medical knowledge,” “practice-based learning and improvement,” “interpersonal and communication skills,” “professionalism,” and “systems-based practice” [1].

This list may be unfamiliar to you. If it is, you are not alone. In one recent study [9], researchers asked 193 residency applicants to name the six core physician competencies; 76 had no knowledge of any of them, and only three applicants correctly identified all six.

To me, the ACGME core competencies defy easy recollection because they neither match an intuitive concept of medical competence, nor do they address the day-to-day demands of residency. Rather, the ACGME core competencies seem to be a hybrid employed all too often in medical training: A standard whose primary value is predicting the attainment of yet another

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