First Competency Assessment Exercises Held for Holy Cross Hospital Internal Medicine Residents

A day of rigorous competency assessment exercises welcomed the first group of physicians entering the new internal medicine residency program at Holy Cross Hospital. The exercises were held July 8 at the Miller School of Medicine’s Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education.

In all, 30 residents participated in the exercises — 18 interns and 12 second-year residents coming in from other programs. They were observed by 12 faculty members from the Division of General Internal Medicine, the Office of Graduate Medical Education and the Gordon Center, and six physicians from Holy Cross.

“It was a very successful day,” said Joan St. Onge, M.D., associate professor of clinical medicine and Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education. “We need to know how the residents handle various situations. This gives us a baseline assessment of our trainees, and a point of comparison as they go through the residency program and improve their skills.”

The exercises included urgent or emergency room care situations using simulators, inserting IV lines, EKG and chest x-ray assessments, patient hand-offs to other caregivers, consults with other physicians, and communicating with patients and families. Faculty members were present for some exercises; for others, they observed through two-way mirrors or by camera from another room.

“Through our observations, we saw areas, such as EKG reading, where we could make adjustments in the curriculum right away,” said St. Onge. “We anticipate bringing the residents back to the Gordon Center to repeat certain scenarios in the spring. It’s a great way to kick off the program and also to assess whether we are accomplishing our goals as a training program.”

Lisa Martinez, M.D., Program Director for the University of Miami Holy Cross Hospital Residency, said, “This exercise allowed us, as the faculty, to assess where our residents’ knowledge and skills are for a variety of areas they will encounter in patient care, and use that to make any curricular changes to address gaps noted. It also provided residents opportunities for reflection and learning. In fact, one week following the simulation event, a resident was exposed to a similar situation in the hospital that he experienced in the simulation, and he said he felt better prepared based off of the simulation scenario.”

A first year resident, Mario Bustos, M.D., said, “I was under pressure, but it allowed me to think and pushed me. It allowed me to see areas I need to improve.”

A second year resident, John Lee, M.D., felt that it put into practice some of what they learned in theory, saying it “allowed us to actually practice what we read and learned in our Advanced Cardiac Life Support classes.”

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