Objective: To investigate current patterns of training and competency assessment in electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) for obstetrics and gynecology residents and maternal-fetal medicine fellows.
Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to the directors of all 254 accredited US residencies in obstetrics and gynecology and 61 accredited US fellowships in maternal-fetal medicine. Questions focused on the methods used for teaching and assessing competency in EFM.
Results: Two hundred thirty-nine programs (76%) responded to the survey. Clinical experience is used by 219 programs (92%) to teach EFM, both initially and on an ongoing basis. Significantly more residencies than fellowships use written materials and lectures to teach EFM. More than half of all programs require trainees to participate in some type of EFM training at least every 6 months; 23 programs (10%) have no requirement at all. Subjective evaluation is used by 174 programs (73%) to assess competency in EFM. Written or oral examinations, skills checklists, and logbooks are used exclusively by residencies as means of competency assessment. Two thirds of all programs assess EFM skills at least every 6 months; 40 programs (17%), the majority of which are fellowships, have no formal requirement.
Conclusion: Most US training programs use supervised clinical experience as both their primary source of teaching EFM and their principal competency assessment tool. Residencies are more likely to have formal instruction and assessment than are fellowships. Few programs are using novel strategies (eg, computers or simulators) in their curriculum.