April 22, 2019
2 min read

Post-interns in orthopedics showed higher skill rates than pre-interns and medical students

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LAS VEGAS — Results on orthopedic interns’ abilities to take call, presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting, concluded post-interns had a significantly higher skill rate of completion and on-call readiness to perform basic orthopedic procedures without in-house supervision compared to pre-interns and medical students.

The impetus for the study was the lack of existing literature evaluating an intern’s ability to perform in-house calls on their own and move to a PGY2 residency. The goal was to assess the use of the Orthopaedic Intern Skills Assessment to determine readiness in this area. “We haven’t found anything in the literature that looked at this to evaluate if these interns are ready to do this on their own in-house calls, so that was the purpose and the drive for our study,” Derek Smith, PhD, said in his presentation.

Faculty, chief residents and research assistants evaluated medical students, incoming interns and residents on their ability to complete 11 skills provided by Smith and his team. Each participant went through evaluation within a month of completing their intern year.

Some skills were pulled from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery modules that Smith and his team believed were important. Others were from a panel of faculty that believed certain skills were necessary for second-year residents to be able to perform by themselves while on call with direct supervision.

Four medical students, five pre-interns and five post-interns participated in the skill assessment. Researchers found the post-interns had a significantly higher mean successful skill completion rate compared to the pre-interns and medical students. There was no statistical difference between the medical students and pre-interns.

Smith and his team also assessed prior experience  participants to understand how much exposure of the skills presented the participants already had.

“We did, as expected, find that the pst-interns — the ones who completed intern year — had a statistically a higher rate of exposure to all of the different areas, and all of them had some exposure to every single one of the skills that we were assessing. Compared to the three interns and medical students, it was [sparser],” Smith said. – by Amanda Palma



Smith D, et al. Abstract 492. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting; March 12-16, 2019; Las Vegas.

Disclosure: Smith reports no relevant financial disclosures.