Internal medicine residents’ perceptions of the Mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise.

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Internal medicine residents' perceptions of the Mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise.

Med Teach. 2008;30(4):414-9

Authors: Malhotra S, Hatala R, Courneya CA

BACKGROUND: The mini-clinical evaluation exercise (mini-CEX) is a 30 minute observed clinical encounter which allows assessment of a resident's clinical competence with feedback on their performance. AIMS: To assess residents' perceptions of the mini-CEX using qualitative methods. METHODS: After introducing the mini-CEX into the University of British Columbia's Internal Medicine Residency Program, a one hour semi-structured focus group with voluntary first and second year residents was undertaken. The focus groups were conducted by an independent moderator, audio-taped, and transcribed verbatim. Using a phenomenological approach, the comments made by the focus group participants were read independently by the three authors and organized into major themes. RESULTS: The major themes included Education, Assessment and Exam Preparation. Residents described a conflict between the mini-CEX's role as a method of assessment and its utility as an educational tool. During initial mini-CEX encounters, they perceived the assessment format as anxiety-provoking. Over time, they felt that the mini-CEX provided insight into their clinical competence. Participants believed that the mini-CEX experience would benefit them in preparation and successful completion of their national specialty exam. CONCLUSIONS: Residents' perceptions of the mini-CEX reflected a tension between the tool's dual roles of assessment and education.

PMID: 18569664 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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