Resident Understanding of ACGME Core Competencies

Nitesh N. Paryani, Jennifer L. Peterson, Cheryll Albold, Suzanne R. Taylor, Laura Vallow, Stephen J. Ko, Steven J. Buskirk

Department of Radiation Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, USA


Competency-based training and evaluation is a central requirement of all accredited residency training, yet there is little indication that it is sufficiently recognizable in the transition between undergraduate and graduate medical education.The purpose of this study was to assess applicants’ knowledge of the ACGME’s six core competencies, which guide the curriculum of all the ACGME accredited graduate medical education programs.Between November, 2011 and February, 2012, applicants to ACGME accredited residency programs at a single hospital completed a questionnaire asking them to list the six core competencies and articulate the words in the organization’s acronym. Aggregated responses from 72 applicants were tabulated and recorded. Twenty-seven students (38%) were unable to name a single competency correctly.  Four students (6%) were able to name 5/6 core competencies.  On average, students were able to name fewer than two of the core competencies.  Students fared slightly better when asked to identify what the acronym “ACGME” means.  Eight students (11%) were able to name all five components. Three students (4%) were unable to name a single component of the acronym “ACGME.”  On average, students were able to name three parts of the acronym.Despite beginning their medical education two years after the widespread implementation of the ACGME core competencies, these graduating medical students had little recall and implied understanding of the core competencies used to evaluate them as residents.  There is a need for more collaboration and alignment between the nation’s medical schools and the ACGME in terms of educating medical students on the increasing importance of competency-based training and evaluation in the medical profession. Journal of Nature and Science, 1(2):e39, 2015.

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