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Performance criteria for emergency medicine residents: a job analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2015

Danielle Blouin
Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ont.
Jeffrey Damon Dagnone
Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ont.
E-mail address:



A major role of admission interviews is to assess a candidate's suitability for a residency program. Structured interviews have greater reliability and validity than do unstructured ones. The development of content for a structured interview is typically based on the dimensions of performance that are perceived as important to succeed in a particular line of work. A formal job analysis is normally conducted to determine these dimensions. The dimensions essential to succeed as an emergency medicine (EM) resident have not yet been studied. We aimed to analyze the work of EM residents to determine these essential dimensions.


The “critical incident technique” was used to generate scenarios of poor and excellent resident performance. Two reviewers independently read each scenario and labelled the performance dimensions that were reflected in each. All labels assigned to a particular scenario were pooled and reviewed again until a consensus was reached.


Five faculty members (25% of our total faculty) comprised the subject experts. Fifty-one incidents were generated and 50 different labels were applied. Eleven dimensions of performance applied to at least 5 incidents. “Professionalism” was the most valued performance dimension, represented in 56% of the incidents, followed by “self-confidence” (22%), “experience” (20%) and “knowledge” (20%).


“Professionalism,” “self-confidence,” “experience” and “knowledge” were identified as the performance dimensions essential to succeed as an EM resident based on our formal job analysis using the critical incident technique. Performing a formal job analysis may assist training program directors with developing admission interviews.

Education • Enseignment
Copyright © Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians 2008


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