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Little is known about how the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) residency programs are selecting their residents. This creates uncertainty regarding alignment between current selection processes and known best practices. We seek to describe the current selection processes of Canadian RCEM programs.
An online survey was distributed to all RCEM program directors and assistant directors. The survey instrument included 22 questions and sought both qualitative and quantitative data from the following six domains: application file, letters of reference, elective selection, interview, rank order, and selection process evaluation.
We received responses from 13 of 14 programs for an aggregate response rate of 92.9%. A candidate's letters of reference were identified as the most important criterion from the paper application (38.5%). Having a high level of familiarity with the applicant was the most important characteristic of a reference letter author (46.2%). In determining rank order, 53.8% of programs weighed the interview more heavily than the paper application. Once final candidate scores are established following the interview stage, all program respondents indicated that further adjustment is made to the final rank order list. Only 1 of 13 program respondents reported ever having completed a formal evaluation of their selection process.
We have identified elements of the selection process that will inform recommendations for programs, students, and referees. We encourage programs to conduct regular reviews of their selection process going forward to be in alignment with best practices.
The Emergency Medicine (EM) Specialty Committee of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) specifies that resuscitation entrustable professional activities (EPAs) can be assessed in the workplace and simulated environments. However, limited validity evidence for these assessments in either setting exists. We sought to determine if EPA ratings improve over time and whether an association exists between ratings in the workplace v. simulation environment.
All Foundations EPA1 (F1) assessments were collected for first-year residents (n = 9) in our program during the 2018–2019 academic year. This EPA focuses on initiating and assisting in the resuscitation of critically ill patients. EPA ratings obtained in the workplace and simulation environments were compared using Lin's concordance correlation coefficient (CCC). To determine whether ratings in the two environments differed as residents progressed through training, a within-subjects analysis of variance was conducted with training environment and month as independent variables.
We collected 104 workplace and 36 simulation assessments. No correlation was observed between mean EPA ratings in the two environments (CCC(8) = -0.01; p = 0.93). Ratings in both settings improved significantly over time (F(2,16) = 18.8; p < 0.001; η2 = 0.70), from 2.9 ± 1.2 in months 1–4 to 3.5 ± 0.2 in months 9–12. Workplace ratings (3.4 ± 0.1) were consistently higher than simulation ratings (2.9 ± 0.2) (F(2,16) = 7.2; p = 0.028; η2 = 0.47).
No correlation was observed between EPA F1 ratings in the workplace v. simulation environments. Further studies are needed to clarify the conflicting results of our study with others and build an evidence base for the validity of EPA assessments in simulated and workplace environments.
Competence committees play a key role in a competency-based system of assessment. These committees are tasked with reviewing and synthesizing clinical performance data to make judgments regarding residents’ competence. Canadian emergency medicine (EM) postgraduate training programs recently implemented competence committees; however, a paucity of literature guides their work.
The objective of this study was to develop consensus-based recommendations to optimize the function and decisions of competence committees in Canadian EM training programs.
Semi-structured interviews of EM competence committee chairs were conducted and analyzed. The interview guide was informed by a literature review of competence committee structure, processes, and best practices. Inductive thematic analysis of interview transcripts was conducted to identify emerging themes. Preliminary recommendations, based on themes, were drafted and presented at the 2019 CAEP Academic Symposium on Education. Through a live presentation and survey poll, symposium attendees representing the national EM community participated in a facilitated discussion of the recommendations. The authors incorporated this feedback and identified consensus among symposium attendees on a final set of nine high-yield recommendations.
The Canadian EM community used a structured process to develop nine best practice recommendations for competence committees addressing: committee membership, meeting processes, decision outcomes, use of high-quality performance data, and ongoing quality improvement. These recommendations can inform the structure and processes of competence committees in Canadian EM training programs.
Cricothyrotomy is an intervention performed to salvage “can't intubate, can't ventilate” situations. Studies have shown poor accuracy with landmarking the cricothyroid membrane, particularly in female patients by surgeons and anesthesiologists. This study examines the perceived versus actual success rate of landmarking the cricothyroid membrane by resident and staff emergency physicians using obese and non-obese models.
Five male and female volunteers were models. Each model was placed supine, and a point-of-care ultrasound expert landmarked the borders of each cricothyroid membrane; 20 residents and 15 staff emergency physicians were given one attempt to landmark five models. Overall accuracy and accuracy stratified by sex and obesity status were calculated.
Overall landmarking accuracy amongst all participants was 58% (SD 18%). A difference in accuracy was found for obese males (88%) versus obese females (40%) (difference = 48%, 95% CI = 30–65%, p < 0.0001), and non-obese males (77%) versus non-obese females (46%) (difference = 31%, 95% CI = 12–51%, p = 0.004). There was no association between perceived difficulty and success (correlation = 0.07, 95% CI = −0.081–0.214, p = 0.37). Confidence levels overall were higher amongst staff physicians (3.0) than residents (2.7) (difference = 0.3, 95% CI = 0.1–0.6, p = 0.02), but there was no correlation between confidence in an attempt and its success (p = 0.33).
We found that physicians demonstrate significantly lower accuracy when landmarking cricothyroid membranes of females. Emergency physicians were unable to predict their own accuracy while landmarking, which can potentially lead to increased failed attempts and a longer time to secure the airway. Improved training techniques may reduce failed attempts and improve the time to secure the airway.
Mentorship is perceived to be an important component of residency education. However, evidence of the impact of mentorship on professional development in Emergency Medicine (EM) is lacking.
Online survey distributed to attending physician members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP), using a modified Dillman method. Survey contained questions about mentorship during residency training, and perceptions of the impact of mentorship on career development.
The response rate was 23.5% (309/1314). 63.6% reported having at least one mentor during residency. The proportion of participants with a formal mentorship component during residency was higher among those with mentors (44.5%) compared to those without any formal mentorship component during residency (8.0%, p<0.001). The most common topics discussed with mentors were career planning and work-life balance. The least common topics included research and finances. While many participants consulted their mentor regarding their first job (56.5%), fewer consulted their mentor regarding subspecialty training (45.1%) and research (41.1%). 71.8% chose to work in a similar centre as their mentor, but few completed the same subspecialty (24.8%), or performed similar research (30.4%). 94.1% stated that mentorship was important to success during residency. Participants in a formal mentorship program did not rate their experience of mentorship higher than those without a formal program.
Among academic EM physicians with an interest in mentorship, mentorship during EM residency may have a greater association with location of practice than academic scholarship or subspecialty choice. Formal mentorship programs increase the likelihood of obtaining a mentor, but do not appear to improve reported mentorship experiences.
In a time of major medical education transformation, emergency medicine (EM) needs to nurture education scholars who will influence EM education practice. However, the essential ingredients to ensure a career with impact in EM education are not clear.
To describe how to prepare EM educators for a high-impact career.
The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Academic Section commissioned an “Education Impact” working group (IWG) to guide the creation of consensus recommendations from the EM community. EM educators from across Canada were initially recruited from the networks of the IWG members, and additional educators were recruited via snowball sampling. “High impact educators” were nominated by this network. The high impact educators were then interviewed using a structured question guide. These interviews were transcribed and coded for themes using qualitative methods. The process continued until no new themes were identified. Proposed themes and recommendations were presented to the EM community at the CAEP 2016 Academic Symposium. Feedback was then incorporated into a final set of recommendations.
Fifty-five (71%) of 77 of identified Canadian EM educators participated, and 170 names of high impact educators were submitted and ranked by frequency. The IWG achieved sufficiency of themes after nine interviews. Five recommendations were made: 1) EM educators can pursue a high impact career by leveraging either traditional or innovative career pathways; 2) EM educators starting their education careers should have multiple senior mentors; 3) Early-career EM educators should immerse themselves in their area of interest and cultivate a community of practice, not limited to EM; 4) Every academic EM department and EM teaching site should have access to an EM educator with protected time and recognition for their EM education scholarship; and 5) Educators at all stages should continuously compile an impact portfolio.
We describe a unique set of recommendations to develop educators who will influence EM, derived from a consensus from the EM community. EM leaders, educators, and aspiring educational scholars should consider how to implement this guide towards enhancing our specialty’s educational mission.