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BMC Med Educ. 2017 Nov 9;17(1):198. doi: 10.1186/s12909-017-1036-7.

Differences between medical student and faculty perceptions of the competencies needed for the first year of residency.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, III. Medizinische Klinik, Martinistr. 52, D-20246, Hamburg, Germany.



Different guidelines and frameworks like the CanMEDs model or entrustable professional activities (EPAs) describe competencies required for successful and professional work of residents. Not all competencies are of equal importance for graduates when they start their residency. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relevance of different competencies for a first year resident from the perspective of physicians and medical students.


In an online study, 178 of 475 surgeons and internists including residents and attendings and 102 of 728 first and last year undergraduate medical students from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf ranked 25 competencies according to their relevance for entrustment decisions in first year residents. The rankings of the competencies by residents and attendings and by first year and last year medical student were compared. Additionally, the rankings were also compared to the literature.


Physicians and medical students rated 'Responsibility' as the most important competency for first year residents. Physicians ranked 'Teamwork and collegiality' and 'Structure, work planning and priorities' within the top 10 competencies significantly higher than medical students. The competency ranks between attendings and residents only showed one significant difference between attendings and residents, where 'Coping with mistakes', was ranked significantly higher by residents. Medical students ranked 'Active listening to patients', 'Advising patients' and 'Handling emotions of patients and their relatives' significantly higher than physicians. Final year students ranked 'Structure, work planning and priorities', 'Coping with mistakes', and 'Verbal communication with colleagues and supervisors' significantly higher than first year students.


Even though physicians and medical students agree that 'Responsibility' is the most important competency for entrustment decisions in the first year of residency, medical students rate competencies regarding patient communication very highly while physicians rate competencies required for patient managements significantly higher for entrustment decision. Undergraduate medical curricula seem to prepare students well with respect to patient-centeredness but need to be developed more specifically to prepare students equally well for patient management competencies which are required in the first year of residency for entrustment decisions from the attendings perspective.


Competencies; Physicians; Postgraduate medical education; Residency; Undergraduate medical students

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