Graduating Students' and Surgery Program Directors' Views of the Association of American Medical Colleges Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency: Where are the Gaps?

Brenessa M Lindeman, Bethany C Sacks, Pamela A Lipsett
Journal of Surgical Education 2015, 72 (6): e184-92

OBJECTIVE: Residency program directors have increasingly expressed concern about the preparedness of some medical school graduates for residency training. The Association of American Medical Colleges recently defined 13 core entrustable professional activities (EPAs) for entering residency that residents should be able to perform without direct supervision on the first day of training. It is not known how students' perception of their competency with these activities compares with that of surgery program directors'.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.

SETTING: All surgery training programs in the United States.

PARTICIPANTS: All program directors (PDs) in the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS) database (n = 222) were invited to participate in an electronic survey, and 119 complete responses were received (53.6%). Among the respondents, 83% were men and 35.2% represented community hospital programs. PDs' responses were compared with questions asking students to rate their confidence in performance of each EPA from the Association of American Medical Colleges Graduation Questionnaire (95% response).

RESULTS: PDs rated their confidence in residents' performance without direct supervision for every EPA significantly lower when compared with the rating by graduating students. Although PDs' ratings continued to be lower than students' ratings, PDs from academic programs (those associated with a medical school) gave higher ratings than those from community programs. PDs generally ranked all 13 EPAs as important to being a trustworthy physician. PDs from programs without preliminary residents gave higher ratings for confidence with EPA performance as compared with PDs with preliminary residents. Among PDs with preliminary residents, there were equal numbers of those who agreed and those who disagreed that there are no identifiable differences between categorical and preliminary residents (42.7% and 41.8%, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: A large gap exists between confidence in performance of the 13 core EPAs for entering residency without direct supervision for graduating medical students and surgery program directors. Both the groups identified several key areas for improvement that may be addressed by medical school curricular interventions or expanding surgical boot camps in hopes to improve resident performance and patient safety.

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