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Trauma et formation: Progrès encore à faire

Surgical interns in 2018: Objective assessment suggests they are better but still lack critical knowledge and skill.


The transition from fourth-year medical student to surgical intern is difficult. A lack of repetitions, experience, and knowledge is problematic. We report our experience using simulation-based technical and nontechnical skills to assess the competency of surgical interns in July and January of their intern year.


As part of a larger assessment effort, our general surgery interns (2010-2016) have been tested on performing an emergent cricothyrotomy, interpreting 2 arterial blood gases, and reading 3 chest x-rays in fewer than 7 minutes. We retrospectively analyzed general surgery interns' performance on these 3 tests (total score = 20).


A total of 210 interns completed both July and January (identical) assessments. Overall mean scores improved from July (12.62 ± 3.44) to January (16.5 ± 2.46; P < .05). During the study period general surgery interns' mean baseline scores improved in both July (P < .05) and in January (P < .05). Although most individual general surgery interns did improve their total scores (92% improved, 3% same, 5% worse) between July and January (P < .05), in January 40% could not perform an emergent cricothyrotomy swiftly, and 6% missed a tension pneumothorax on chest x-ray.


Crico olympiades.jpg


Our data suggest that surgical interns start residency training with low levels of skill and comprehension with emergent cricothyrotomy, arterial blood gas, and chest x-ray. They improve with 6 months of clinical and simulation training. Encouragingly, overall scores for both July and January assessments have improved during the study period. Given that some interns still struggle in January to perform these three tasks, we believe that 2018 interns are better, but still potentially lack critical knowledge and skill.

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