Remediation techniques for student performance problems after a comprehensive clinical skills assessment

Varun Saxena, Patricia S O'Sullivan, Arianne Teherani, David M Irby, Karen E Hauer
Academic Medicine 2009, 84 (5): 669-76

PURPOSE: Poor performance on a medical school comprehensive clinical skills assessment after core clerkships requires remediation. Little is known about techniques used to remedy students' skills deficits and their effectiveness. The authors identified remediation strategies used at U.S. medical schools and determined instructors' confidence in remediation.

METHOD: In the fall of 2007, the authors surveyed persons responsible for remediation at U.S. medical schools that conduct comprehensive clinical assessments and remediation. Respondents reported their use of four types of remediation strategies: (1) clinical activities, (2) independent study, (3) precepted video review of exam recording, and (4) organized group activities for deficits in history-taking, physical examination, knowledge, clinical reasoning, professionalism, and communication. The authors assessed confidence in remediation for the six skill areas and analyzed these measures using repeated-measures analysis of variance.

RESULTS: Fifty-three of 71 (74.6%) participants responded. Educators most commonly employ the precepted video review remediation activity across the six skill areas, and they use the clinical activities least commonly. Confidence in remediating the six skill areas was below the "agree" level. Confidence was highest for remediating history-taking and physical examination problems and lowest for professionalism.

CONCLUSION: Educators express modest confidence in remediating fourth-year students' clinical skills deficiencies. The finding that schools employ primarily video review for remediation suggests a potential need to augment opportunities for mentored skills practice to address deficits more effectively. The remediation literature similarly stresses the importance of multiple approaches tailored to particular deficits.

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