Academic Medicine

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Academic Medicine - Current Issue

Academic Medicine, a peer-reviewed monthly journal, serves as an international forum for the exchange of ideas and information about policy, issues, and research concerning academic medicine, including strengthening the quality of medical education and training, enhancing the search for biomedical knowledge, advancing research in health services, and integrating education and research into the provision of effective health care.

This Invited Commentary explores the implications of the upcoming shift to pass/fail scoring for the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 that was announced in February 2020. Using the frameworks of validity and growth/mastery mindset, the authors describe how this change in Step 1 score reporting presents an opportunity to advance the meaningful assessment of medical students and improve the transition from undergraduate medical education (UME) to graduate medical education (GME). The authors explore the potential risks and consequences associated with a narrow implementation of pass/fail scoring. Alternatively, with a shift in scoring, educators can leverage consequential validity, particularly the educational and catalytic effects of assessment. The authors emphasize the importance of assessment that motivates learners to prepare in a fashion that benefits their learning and that provides results and feedback that motivate all stakeholders to create, enhance, and support education. The authors suggest that this use of assessment will require a culture change from fixed mindset to growth mindset among both students and educators, a shift from static to dynamic testing, and a transition to assessment that focuses on a learner’s trajectory. The authors conclude by emphasizing the importance of work-based assessment and the need for improved transparency across the UME–GME continuum.
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After extensive stakeholder discussion, the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners announced in February 2020 that United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 will transition to a pass/fail exam. Program directors have historically used Step 1 scores in deciding which residency applicants to interview. The lack of numerical scores will force changes to the residency selection process, which could have both positive and negative consequences for international medical graduates (IMGs). In this Invited Commentary, the authors discuss how some of the issues associated with the transition to Step 1 pass/fail are likely to impact IMGs. The authors also provide insights into how this and other policy changes could help spur the medical education community to improve the process by which medical school graduates transition to graduate medical education.
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imagePurpose Medical school selection committees aim to identify the best possible students and, ultimately, the best future doctors from a large, well-qualified, generally homogeneous pool of applicants. Constructive alignment of medical school selection, curricula, and assessment with the ultimate outcomes (e.g., CanMEDS roles) has been proposed as means to attain this goal. Whether this approach is effective has not yet been established. The authors addressed this gap by assessing the relationship between performance in an outcomes-based selection procedure and performance during the clinical years of medical school. Method Two groups of students were compared: (1) those admitted into Maastricht University Medical School via an outcomes-based selection procedure and (2) those rejected through this procedure who were admitted into the program through a national, grade-point-average-based lottery. The authors compared performance scores of students from the 2 groups on all 7 CanMEDS roles, using assessment data gathered during clinical rotations. The authors examined data from 3 cohorts (2011–2013). Results Students admitted through the local, outcomes-based selection procedure significantly outperformed the initially rejected but lottery-admitted students in all years, and the differences between groups increased over time. The selected students performed significantly better in the CanMEDS roles of Communicator, Collaborator, and Professional in the first year of clinical rotations; in these 3 roles—plus Organizer—in the second year; and in 2 additional roles (Advocate and Scholar—all except Medical Expert) at the end of their clinical training. Conclusions A constructively aligned selection procedure has increasing predictive value across the clinical years of medical school compared with a GPA-based lottery procedure. The data reported here suggest that constructive alignment of selection, curricula, and assessment to ultimate outcomes is effective in creating a selection procedure predictive of clinical performance.
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
imagePurpose Postgraduate medical trainees experience high rates of burnout; however, inconsistencies in definitions of burnout characterize this literature. The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis examining burnout levels and patterns in postgraduate medical trainees, using a continuous conceptualization of burnout, consistent with the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) framework. Method The authors searched 5 electronic databases (Cochrane Library, Embase, ERIC, Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid PsycINFO) between January 1981 and July 2019 for studies reporting postgraduate medical trainees’ burnout levels using the MBI-Human Services Survey. They examined study reporting quality using the QualSyst quality appraisal tool and calculated standardized mean differences (Hedges’ g), comparing trainees’ data with MBI norms for medicine and the overall population using a random effects model. They explored between-study heterogeneity using subgroup analyses (i.e., by training level and specialty). Finally, they studied the combined contribution of these 2 variables (and year of study publication) to burnout levels, using meta-regression. Results The authors identified 2,978 citations and included 89 independent studies in their review. They pooled the data for the 18,509 postgraduate trainees included in these studies for the meta-analyses. Reporting quality was generally high across the included studies. The meta-analyses revealed higher burnout levels among trainees compared with medicine and overall population norms, particularly for the depersonalization subscale. The authors also identified statistically significant differences between nonsurgical and surgical registrars (specialty trainees), with trainees from 12 individual specialties exhibiting unique burnout patterns. Conclusions There is a need to reduce and prevent burnout early in medical training. Given the differences in burnout levels and patterns across specialties, interventions must focus on the unique patterns exhibited by each specialty in the target population using a multidimensional approach. Standardizing the definition of burnout in accordance with the MBI framework will facilitate progression of this work.
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
imageMedical education exists in the service of patients and communities and must continually calibrate its focus to ensure the achievement of these goals. To close gaps in U.S. health outcomes, medical education is steadily evolving to better prepare providers with the knowledge and skills to lead patient- and systems-level improvements. Systems-related competencies, including high-value care, quality improvement, population health, informatics, and systems thinking, are needed to achieve this but are often curricular islands in medical education, dependent on local context, and have lacked a unifying framework. The third pillar of medical education—health systems science (HSS)—complements the basic and clinical sciences and integrates the full range of systems-related competencies. Despite the movement toward HSS, there remains uncertainty and significant inconsistency in the application of HSS concepts and nomenclature within health care and medical education. In this Article, the authors (1) explore the historical context of several key systems-related competency areas; (2) describe HSS and highlight a schema crosswalk between HSS and systems-related national competency recommendations, accreditation standards, national and local curricula, educator recommendations, and textbooks; and (3) articulate 6 rationales for the use and integration of a broad HSS framework within medical education. These rationales include: (1) ensuring core competencies are not marginalized, (2) accounting for related and integrated competencies in curricular design, (3) providing the foundation for comprehensive assessments and evaluations, (4) providing a clear learning pathway for the undergraduate–graduate–workforce continuum, (5) facilitating a shift toward a national standard, and (6) catalyzing a new professional identity as systems citizens. Continued movement toward a cohesive framework will better align the clinical and educational missions by cultivating the next generation of systems-minded health care professionals.
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
imageProblem On March 17, 2020, the Association of American Medical Colleges recommended the suspension of all direct patient contact responsibilities for medical students because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this change, medical students nationwide had to grapple with how and where they could fill the evolving needs of their schools’ affiliated clinical sites, physicians, patients, and the community. Approach At Harvard Medical School (HMS), student leaders created a COVID-19 Medical Student Response Team to: (1) develop a student-led organizational structure that would optimize students’ ability to efficiently mobilize interested peers in the COVID-19 response, both clinically and in the community, in a strategic, safe, smart, and resource-conscious way; and (2) serve as a liaison with the administration and hospital leaders to identify evolving needs and rapidly engage students in those efforts. Outcomes Within a week of its inception, the COVID-19 Medical Student Response Team had more than 500 medical student volunteers from HMS and had shared the organizational framework of the response team with multiple medical schools across the country. The HMS student volunteers joined any of the 4 virtual committees to complete this work: Education for the Medical Community, Education for the Broader Community, Activism for Clinical Support, and Community Activism. Next Steps The COVID-19 Medical Student Response Team helped to quickly mobilize hundreds of students and has been integrated into HMS’s daily workflow. It may serve as a useful model for other schools and hospitals seeking medical student assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Next steps include expanding the initiative further, working with the leaders of response teams at other medical schools to coordinate efforts, and identifying new areas of need at local hospitals and within nearby communities that might benefit from medical student involvement as the pandemic evolves.
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There has been a recent rise in calls for action around wellness and physician health. In medical education, wellness has been proposed as a physician competency. In this article, the authors review the history of the “wellness as a competency” concept within U.S. and Canadian residency programs and medical schools. Drawing from literature on the discourses of wellness and competence in medical education, they argue that operationalizing wellness as a physician competency holds profound implications for curricula, admissions, evaluation, and licensure. While many definitions of “wellness” and “competency” are used within medical training environments, the authors argue that the definitions institutions ultimately use will have significant impacts for trainees who are considered “unwell.” In particular, medical learners with disabilities—including those with mental health, chronic health, learning, sensory, and mobility disabilities—may not conform to dominant conceptions of “wellness,” and there is a risk they will become further stigmatized or even be considered unsuitable to practice in the profession. The authors conclude that framing wellness as a competency has the potential to legitimize support-seeking and prioritize physician health, yet it may also have the potential unintended effect of excluding certain learners from the profession. They propose a universal design approach to understand wellness at a systems level and to remove barriers to wellness for all medical learners.
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Reddit is a popular content aggregator and discussion website that plays an important role in shaping medical student culture and study habits. The forum r/medicalschool, in particular, provides a distilled view into contemporary U.S. medical students’ attitudes and deteriorating relationship to their home institutions’ educators and curricula. As a national discussion on United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 reform emerges, the role of forums like r/medicalschool in shaping a “Step 1 climate” via the design and dissemination of prescriptive Step 1 study regimens based on commercially available resources and crowdsourced flash card decks goes largely unseen and undiscussed by medical educators. This Invited Commentary aims to introduce medical educators to these forums, highlight the common attitudes borne out of them, and contextualize one popular proposal for Step 1 reform—shifting to a pass/fail exam—within the author’s experience as an online forum insider.
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imageSeveral schools have moved the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 exam after core clerkships, and others are considering this change. Delaying Step 1 may improve Step 1 performance and lower Step 1 failure rates. Schools considering moving Step 1 are particularly concerned about late identification of struggling students and late Step failures, which can be particularly problematic due to reduced time to remediate and accumulated debt if remediation is ultimately unsuccessful. In the literature published to date, little attention has been given to these students. In this article, authors from 9 medical schools with a postclerkship Step 1 exam share their experiences. The authors describe curricular policies, early warning and identification strategies, and interventions to enhance success for all students and struggling students in particular. Such learners can be identified by understanding challenges that place them “at risk” and by tracking performance outcomes, particularly on other standardized assessments. All learners can benefit from early coaching and advising, mechanisms to ensure early feedback on performance, commercial study tools, learning specialists or resources to enhance learning skills, and wellness programs. Some students may need intensive tutoring, neuropsychological testing and exam accommodations, board preparation courses, deceleration pathways, and options to postpone Step 1. In rare instances, a student may need a compassionate off-ramp from medical school. With the National Board of Medical Examiner’s announcement that Step 1 scoring will change to pass/fail as early as January 2022, residency program directors might use failing Step 1 scores to screen out candidates. Institutions altering the timing of Step 1 can benefit from practical guidance by those who have made the change, to both prevent Step 1 failures and minimize adverse effects on those who fail.
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
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imageOccupational distress among clinicians and its impact on quality of care is a major threat to the health care delivery system. To address threats to clinician well-being, many institutions have introduced a new senior leadership position—the health care chief wellness officer (CWO). This role is distinct from CWOs or other wellness leadership positions that have historically existed outside of medicine. The health care CWO role was established to reduce widespread occupational distress in clinicians by improving the work environment rather than by promoting health behaviors to reduce health insurance costs. A complex array of system-level drivers has contributed to clinician distress. Developing and overseeing the execution of a strategy to address these challenges and working in partnership with other operational leaders to improve well-being require a correctly placed senior leader with the appropriate authority and resources, such as a CWO.
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imagePurpose Family medicine residency programs can be cited for low pass or take rates on the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) certification examination, and the relationships among standardized medical education assessments and performance on board certification examinations and eventual board certification have not been comprehensively studied. The objective of this study was to evaluate the associations of all required standardized examinations in medical education with ABFM certification examination scores and eventual ABFM certification. Method All graduates of U.S. MD-granting family medicine residency programs from 2008 to 2012 were included. Data on ABFM certification examination score, ABFM certification status (as of December 31, 2014), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) section scores, undergraduate grade point average, all United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step scores, and all ABFM in-training examination scores were linked. Nested logistic and linear regression models, controlling for clustering by residency program, determined associations between assessments and both certification examination scores and board certification status. As many international medical graduates (IMGs) do not take the MCAT, separate models for U.S. medical graduates (USMG) and IMGs were run. Results The study sample was 15,902 family medicine graduates, of whom 92.1% (14,648/15,902) obtained board certification. In models for both IMGs and USMGs, the addition of more recent assessments weakened the associations of earlier assessments. USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge was predictive of certification examination scores and certification status in all models in which it was included. Conclusions For family medicine residents, more recent assessments generally have stronger associations with board certification score and status than earlier assessments. Solely using medical school admissions (grade point average and MCAT) and licensure (USMLE) scores for resident selection may not adequately predict ultimate board certification.
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imagePurpose To explore the relationship between residents’ perceptions of residency program leadership team behaviors and resident burnout and satisfaction. Method In February 2019, the authors surveyed all residents across the 77 graduate medical education training programs at Mayo Clinic’s multiple sites. Survey items measured residents’ perceptions of program director and associate program director behaviors (using a composite residency program leadership team score), resident burnout, and resident satisfaction with the program and organization. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to evaluate relationships between these variables at the individual resident (adjusting for age, sex, postgraduate training year, program location, and specialty) and program (including only programs with at least 5 respondents) levels. Results Of the 1,146 residents surveyed, 762 (66.5%) responded. At the individual resident level, higher composite leadership team scores were associated with lower emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and higher overall satisfaction with the residency program and organization (all P
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Three-digit United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 scores have assumed an outsized role in residency selection decisions, creating intense pressure for medical students to obtain a high score on this exam. In February 2020, the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners announced that Step 1 would transition to pass/fail scoring beginning in 2022.
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
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The February 2020 announcement that United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 results will be reported as pass/fail instead of numerical scores has been controversial. Step 1 scores have played a key role in residency selection, including screening for interviews. Although Step 1 scores are viewed as an objective criterion, they have been shown to disadvantage female and underrepresented minority applicants, cause student anxiety and financial burden, and affect student well-being. Furthermore, Step 1 scores incompletely predict applicants’ overall residency performance. With this paradigm shift in Step 1 score reporting, residency programs will have fewer objective, standardized metrics for selection decisions, which may lead to greater emphasis on USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge scores or yield unintended consequences, including shifting weight to metrics such as medical school reputation.
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imageThough intended to inform a binary decision on initial medical licensure, the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is frequently used for screening candidates for residency positions. Some have argued that reporting results as pass/fail would honor the test’s purpose while preventing inappropriate use. To date, the USMLE’s sponsor organizations have declined to make such a change. In this Perspective, the authors examine the history and mission of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), trace the rise of “Step 1 mania,” and consider the current financial incentives for the NBME in implementing a pass/fail score-reporting policy.
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imageThe COVID-19 pandemic has brought unique challenges to the delivery of undergraduate medical education, particularly for current third-year medical students who are preparing to apply to residency. In mid-March, medical schools suspended all clinical rotations for the remainder of the 2019–2020 academic year. As such, third-year medical students may not be able to complete sufficient clinical experiences to make important career choices before they have to submit their residency applications. While the decision to suspend clinical rotations was necessary to protect students, specialty organizations and residency programs must mitigate the deficits in students’ clinical education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis has hit Singapore hard. As of February 25, 2020, Singapore had the fourth highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections outside of China, only trailing behind South Korea, Italy, and Japan. This has had reverberating effects on Singapore’s health care system, and has, consequently, also affected medical education all the way from the undergraduate to the postgraduate level. While efforts are underway to contain disease spread and transmission, the authors believe that this is an opportune time to examine and reflect on the impact that medical crises like COVID-19 can have on medical training and education and to evaluate “business continuity plans” to ensure quality medical education even in the face of constant disruptions from pandemic outbreaks. Medical training is as important a mandate as patient care and service. The authors believe that even in trying times like this, rich and precious lessons can be sought and taught, which will immensely benefit medical students and residents—the health care leaders of tomorrow. In this Perspective, the authors discuss the various ways in which the COVID-19 crisis has affected medical instruction in Singapore and explore pertinent practical and creative solutions for the continuity of medical training in these trying times, drawing on their previous experience with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in 2003 as well as the current ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
imageThe University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) is a 5-year medical student training program designed to prepare the next generation of MD-only physician–scientists engaging in preclinical research. This article provides an overview of the program, including the novel longitudinal structure and competency goals, which facilitate success and persistence in a laboratory-based physician–scientist career. The authors present data on 81 medical students accepted to the program from academic year 2007–2008 through 2018–2019. Extrinsic outcomes, such as publications, grant funding, and residency matching, indicate that PSTP trainees have actively generated research deliverables. A majority of eligible PSTP trainees have earned Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Fellow funding. PSTP students have produced a mean of 1.6 first-authored publications (median, 1.0) and a mean of 5.1 total publications (median, 4.0) while in medical school and have authored 0.9 publications per year as residents/fellows, excluding internship. Nearly 60% of PSTP students (26/46) have matched to top-10 National Institutes of Health-funded residency programs in their specialty (based on Blue Ridge Institute rankings). PSTP alumni are twice as likely as their classmates to match into research-heavy departments and to publish first-authored papers. Results of a 2018 program evaluation survey indicate that intrinsic outcomes, such as confidence in research skills, significantly correlate with extrinsic outcomes. The program continues to evolve to maximize both scientific agency and career navigation skills in participants. This medical student PSTP model has potential to expand the pool of physician–scientist researchers in preclinical research beyond the capacity of dedicated MD–PhD and postgraduate training programs.
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
This Invited Commentary is an independent opinion piece and companion to the Perspective by Carmody and Rajasekaran that appears in this issue of Academic Medicine. The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is a powerful gatekeeper to the medical profession in the United States. According to publicly available tax data, the NBME, which has increased its number of income-enhancing products, had revenues of $153.9 million (M) and net assets of $177.6M in 2017, earnings (revenue less expenses) of $39.7M in 2013–2017, and a highly compensated management team. Medical students are ultimately the source of nearly all the NBME’s revenue, and the NBME has contributed to the growth of medical student debt. The NBME has operated as a monopoly since its agreement in the early 1990s with the Federation of State Medical Boards to cosponsor the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Although the NBME has developed valuable products and is ostensibly governed by a capable board, the NBME has inherent financial conflicts of interest and may be benefiting from the current “Step 1 mania” undermining undergraduate medical education. Here, the author makes 4 recommendations to reestablish the trust of the U.S. medical education community in the NBME: (1) the NBME should recuse itself from current discussions and policy-making decisions related to changes in the score reporting of the USMLE Step 1 exam; (2) the NBME should disclose and be transparent about all aspects of its finances; (3) new NBME products, changes in pricing, and changes to pass thresholds should be approved by an oversight committee, independent of the NBME; and (4) the NBME (and USMLE) should not charge students or residents for retaking any of its licensing examinations.
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In this Invited Commentary, the author considers the February 2020 announcement that scoring on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 will change to pass/fail no sooner than January 2022 and its effects on the transition to residency process in the context of both the recommendations of the Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS) held in March 2019 and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. The author suggests that the medical education community must embrace any positive changes that come about as a result of the pandemic while continuing to systematically review the strengths and areas for improvement in the current transition to residency process.
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
imagePurpose To assess the correlations between United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) performance, American College of Physicians Internal Medicine In-Training Examination (IM-ITE) performance, American Board of Internal Medicine Internal Medicine Certification Exam (IM-CE) performance, and other medical knowledge and demographic variables. Method The study included 9,676 postgraduate year (PGY)-1, 11,424 PGY-2, and 10,239 PGY-3 internal medicine (IM) residents from any Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–accredited IM residency program who took the IM-ITE (2014 or 2015) and the IM-CE (2015–2018). USMLE scores, IM-ITE percent correct scores, and IM-CE scores were analyzed using multiple linear regression, and IM-CE pass/fail status was analyzed using multiple logistic regression, controlling for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3 scores; averaged medical knowledge milestones; age at IM-ITE; gender; and medical school location (United States or Canada vs international). Results All variables were significant predictors of passing the IM-CE with IM-ITE scores having the strongest association and USMLE Step scores being the next strongest predictors. Prediction curves for the probability of passing the IM-CE based solely on IM-ITE score for each PGY show that residents must score higher on the IM-ITE with each subsequent administration to maintain the same estimated probability of passing the IM-CE. Conclusions The findings from this study should support residents and program directors in their efforts to more precisely identify and evaluate knowledge gaps for both personal learning and program improvement. While no individual USMLE Step score was as strongly predictive of IM-CE score as IM-ITE score, the combined relative contribution of all 3 USMLE Step scores was of a magnitude similar to that of IM-ITE score.
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imagePurpose To identify which internal medicine clerkship characteristics may relate to NBME Medicine Subject Examination scores, given the growing trend toward earlier clerkship start dates. Method The authors used linear mixed effects models (univariable and multivariable) to determine associations between medicine exam performance and clerkship characteristics (longitudinal status, clerkship length, academic start month, ambulatory clinical experience, presence of a study day, involvement in a combined clerkship, preclinical curriculum type, medicine exam timing). Additional covariates included number of NBME clinical subject exams used, number of didactic hours, use of a criterion score for passing the medicine exam, whether medicine exam performance was used to designate clerkship honors, and United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 performance. The sample included 24,542 examinees from 62 medical schools spanning 3 academic years (2011–2014). Results The multivariable analysis found no significant association between clerkship length and medicine exam performance (all pairwise P > .05). However, a small number of examinees beginning their academic term in January scored marginally lower than those starting in July (P
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The upcoming transition of the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 to pass/fail score reporting has wide-ranging implications for the medical education community. The decision to discontinue 3-digit numeric score reporting comes following advocacy to change the exam because of its disproportionate importance in the residency match process, the negative impact the exam has on student well-being, and the prominent influence the exam has on medical school curricula. Shifting to pass/fail score reporting for Step 1 creates significant uncertainties to be addressed by the stakeholders in the transition from undergraduate medical education to graduate medical education. In this Invited Commentary, the authors reflect on the positive implications of this scoring change, potential negative ramifications that need to be proactively addressed, and future ways that the transition to residency can be optimized. The transition to pass/fail score reporting for Step 1 creates an opportunity to redefine the residency match process, to support applicant decision making, and to encourage a holistic review of applicants. These changes to the review process will require grace and trust among stakeholders, including students, as well as active support for students who might be negatively impacted during a complex implementation phase. By removing the dominance of Step 1 numeric scores from the residency selection process, the change to pass/fail scoring provides a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to work together and redefine the transition to residency while protecting students from unintended negative consequences.
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
imagePurpose To understand the learner’s perspective on the transition from medical school to residency and to develop a conceptual model for how learners experience the transition from student to resident. Method This prospective qualitative study explored the experience of first-year residents using semistructured, one-on-one telephone interviews. Ten first-year residents who participated in the Transition to Residency elective as fourth-year students at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine in April 2018 participated from December 2018 to April 2019. Using a 3-phase coding process and grounded theory methodology, the authors identified categories, which they organized into broader themes across interview transcripts and used to develop a conceptual model. Results From the perspective of new residents, developing professional identity is the core construct of the transition experience. The residents focused on individual aspects of the experience—professional identity, self-awareness, professional growth, approach to learning, and personal balance—and external aspects—context of learning, professional relationships, and challenges in the context of their new role. Across these 8 categories, 5 broader themes emerged to describe an abrupt change in educational environment, an immersive experience of learning as a resident, ambivalence and tensions around the new role, navigation of professional relationships, and balance and integration of working in medicine with personal lives and goals. A conceptual model illustrates this phenomenon as a cell where professional identity and growth (the nucleus) is surrounded by interactions with patients and other members of the medical team (in the cytoplasm) that create a substrate for learning and development. Conclusions This study suggests that being immersed in the residency experience is how medical students transition to resident physicians. Educational interventions that allow learners to acclimate to the experience of being a doctor through gradual exposure to authentic interactions have the potential to bridge the abrupt transition.
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imagePurpose To explore the interaction between practice setting (academic practice [AP], private practice [PP]) and gender in relation to physician burnout and satisfaction with work–life integration (WLI). Method In 2017, the authors administered a cross-sectional survey of U.S. physicians and characterized rates of burnout and satisfaction with WLI using previously validated and/or standardized tools. They conducted multivariable logistic regression to determine the interaction between the included variables. Results Of the 3,603 participants in the final analysis, female physicians reported a higher prevalence of burnout than male physicians in both AP (50.7% vs 38.2%, P
Posted: September 1, 2020, 12:00 am
Score reporting for the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 will change from a 3-digit number to pass/fail as soon as January 1, 2022. The shift is meant to prevent residency program directors from using Step 1 scores to select applicants for interviews, a purpose for which the exam was not designed. Using Step 1 scores in this way also has put undue stress on medical students applying to residency. However, the score reporting change represents only one stepping stone toward an improved transition from undergraduate to graduate medical education. To enable a more reliable and holistic review of applicants, residency program directors and medical school administrators must promote other standardized evaluation tools and address the hypercompetitive and frenzied state of the residency application process. For example, medical schools should provide program directors with assessments of students’ fit and readiness for residency that are not burdensome to understand and compare. In addition, residency programs should implement “traffic rules” to improve the interview process for applicants. These changes will significantly mitigate the burden on all stakeholders. As residents who recently experienced this transition, the authors of this Invited Commentary argue that now is the opportune time to redefine selection criteria and reemphasize the characteristics that truly matter in training competent future physicians.
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