The Value of Internship in Graduate Medical Education: Survey of Emergency Medicine Residents and Program Directors

Adam M. Ray, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: December 7, 2005

Accepted: March 22, 2006

Published: January 1, 2007

J Osteopath Med; 107(1): 26-29

Objectives: To assess the opinions of emergency medicine (EM) residents and program directors about the value of completing a nonrequired 1-year internship before entering an EM residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Methods: An eight-question, self-administered online survey was e-mailed to EM residents who had completed a nonrequired internship before entering ACGME-accredited residency programs. A separate, six-question survey was e-mailed to program directors of ACGME-accredited programs that do not require an internship who had ever had a resident who had completed a nonrequired internship.

Results: Forty-six (27 [59%] osteopathic, 19 [41%] allopathic) of 113 residents and 40 of 124 program directors responded to the survey questions. Less than 4% of residents completed a separate nonrequired 1-year internship. The most common reason for completing a nonrequired internship was to obtain licensure by the American Osteopathic Association (19 [41%]). Most residents believed that they were more proficient with history-taking and physical examinations (38 [83%]) and procedures (34 [74%]) during the first year of residency than their colleagues who did not complete an internship, but this percentage decreased over time. The program directors had similar opinions. Most osteopathic residents who completed the internship for osteopathic licensure would not have done so if it were not required. Most (39 of 40) program directors would not recommend taking a nonrequired internship.

Conclusions: Completing a 1-year internship before entering an EM residency program may better prepare physicians for their first year of residency in terms of basic clinical competancy, but further study is needed in this area.

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