The Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education has defined 6 core competencies that residents must master before completing their training. Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) using standardized patients are effective educational tools to assess and teach core competencies. We developed an OSCE specific for microsurgical head and neck reconstruction. Fifteen plastic surgery residents participated in the OSCE simulating a typical new patient consultation, which involved a patient with oral cancer. Residents were scored in all 6 core competencies by the standardized patients and faculty experts. Analysis of participant performance showed that although residents performed well overall, many lacked proficiency in systems-based practice. Junior residents were also more likely to omit critical elements of the physical examination compared to senior residents. We have modified our educational curriculum to specifically address these deficiencies. Our study demonstrates that the OSCE is an effective assessment tool for teaching and assessing all core competencies in microsurgery.
View details for PubMedID 23486137