, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 361-365

Confidence of graduating internal medicine residents to perform ambulatory procedures

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the training of graduating internal medicine residents to perform 13 common ambulatory procedures, 3 inpatient procedures, and 3 screening examinations.

DESIGN: Self-administered descriptive survey.

SETTING: Internal medicine training programs associated with 9 medical schools in the eastern United States.

PARTICIPANTS: Graduating residents (N=128); response rate, 60%.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The total number of procedures performed during residency, importance for primary care physicians to perform these procedures, confidence to perform these procedures, and helpfulness of rotations for learning procedures were assessed. The majority of residents performed only 2 of 13 outpatient procedures 10 or more times during residency; simple spirometry and minor wound suturing. For all other procedures, the median number performed was 5 or fewer. The percentage of residents attributing high importance to a procedure was significantly greater than the percentage reporting high confidence for 8 of 13 ambulatory procedures; for all inpatient procedures, residents reported significantly higher confidence than importance. Continuity clinic and block ambulatory rotations were not considered helpful for learning ambulatory procedures.

CONCLUSIONS: Though residents in this sample considered most ambulatory procedures important for primary care physicians, they performed them infrequently, if at all, during residency and did not consider their continuity clinic experience helpful for learning these skills. Training programs need to address this deficiency by modifying the curriculum to ensure that these skills are taught to residents who anticipate a career in primary care medicine.

Presented in part at the 1998 annual meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine and at the 1998 spring meeting of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine.
This work was supported in part by grant 2D28PE54004 from the Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, to the Faculty Development Program for General Internal Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and by grant 52285 from the Summa Health System, Akron, Ohio.