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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Mar;92(3):258-66. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3182745ed9.

Neuromuscular medicine competency in physical medicine and rehabilitation residents: a method of development and assessment.

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  • 1Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


This project endeavored to create an educational module including methodology to instruct physical medicine and rehabilitation residents in the evaluation and appropriate treatment of patients with neuromuscular disorders. It further sought to verify acquired competencies in neuromuscular rehabilitation through objective evaluation methodology. An American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine board-certified physician with 10 yrs of clinical experience in neuromuscular and general rehabilitation trained 19 residents using a standardized competency-based module. The residents were trained through clinical training, lectures, and review of self-assessment examination concepts from the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation syllabus provided in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. After delivery of the educational module, knowledge acquisition and skill proficiency were measured in (1) completion of neuromuscular history and physical examination satisfactorily, (2) diagnosis and ability to design a patient care management plan via chart stimulated recall examinations, (3) physician-patient interaction via patient surveys, (4) physician-staff interaction via 360-degree global ratings, and (5) ability to write a comprehensive patient care report and to document a patient care management plan in accordance with Medicare guidelines via written patient reports. Assessment tools developed for this program address the basic competencies outlined by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. To test the success of the standardized educational module, data were collected on an ongoing basis. The objective measures compared resident self-assessment examination scores in neuromuscular rehabilitation before and after the institution of the comprehensive neuromuscular competency module in the residency program. Nineteen (100%) of 19 residents successfully demonstrated proficiency in every segment of the evaluation module by the end of the postgraduate year 2 inpatient neuromuscular rehabilitation rotation. Furthermore, the residents' proficiency, as demonstrated by the evaluation after the implementation of the standardized educational module, positively correlated with an increase in the residents' self-assessment examination scores in neuromuscular rehabilitation compared with the residents' scores before the educational module implementation throughout all 3 yrs of training. Resident proficiency in the skills and knowledge pertaining to neuromuscular rehabilitation were objectively verified after completion of the standardized educational module. Validation of the assessment tool is evidenced by the collected data correlating with significantly improved self-assessment examination scores, as outlined in the "RESULTS" section. In addition, the clinical development tool was validated by the residents being individually observed performing history and physical examinations and being deemed competent by the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. The standardized educational module and evaluation methodology provide a potential framework for the definition of baseline competency in the clinical training area of neuromuscular rehabilitation.

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